An Archaeological Inventory Report
of the Owlshead/Amargosa -
Mojave Basin Planning Units
of the Southern California Desert Area
Richard H. Brooks,
and Sheilagh Brooks
cultural resource publications
anthropology - history
Cover illustration by Clara Stapp. Geoglyph in upper right hand corner
is a serpent-like figure scraped into the desert pavement at Denning
Spring in the Avawatz Mountains. The geoglvnh is approximately 200
meters long and follows an east-west ridgeline.
During the process of developing the Bureau of Land Management's
multiple-use plan for the California Desert Conservation Area in the late
1970's, it becomes apparent that the short time allowed for field work
necessitated assistance by non-Bureau contractors. Such was the case
for archaeological inventories.
Since BLM's Desert Planning Staff archaeologists, under ray direction,
had initiated a regional approach (discussed in Appendix D of the Desert
Plan), it was felt imperative that contractors generally should follow
compatible methods with allowances for some individual flexibility. This
would allow for data comparisons while at the same time providing the
contractor certain freedoms and initiative.
In this report, Dr. Brooks and his co-workers of the University of
Nevada, Las Vegas, Archaeological Research Center, have completed one
of the regional studies for the BLM for a key area in both the Mojave
and greater California Desert. This region has been, and continues to
be, a focal point for researchers since the early days of California
The Archaeological Research Center has provided a report which
clearly shows the importance of the region, the diversity of cultural
resource present, their significance and the general environmental zones
of greater or lesser cultural resource sensitivity. It is a valuable
contribution to Mojave Desert archaeology. A companion volume by Claude
Warren, Martha Knack and Elizabeth von Till Warren (1980), providing a
detailed overview of the region's archaeology, history and ethnography,
including a discussion of the local environment, has neen previously
printed in this series. Together these works provide information
meaningful to those who appreciate the desert and its resources.
I wish to thank all of those who have supported the archaeology
program in the California Desert in its efforts to print and disseminate
cultural resource data to the general and professional public. Among
those are Gerald Hillier, Dick Freel, Bruce Ottenfeld, Bary Freet, Ronald
Keller and Bill Olsen. A special note of thanks goes to Clara Stapp who
did the front cover and the appropriate typing of Jenise Aboytes.
A special note of thanks is to be extended to the Brook's for retyping
the manuscript into a single-space format. As sometimes happens in this
field the original double-space manuscript disappeared and no other print-
able copies existed. The Brook's, at their own expense, gratiously had
it re typed .
I hope that in these days of constrained budgets that the reprinting
and dissemination of Cultural Resource Reports will be further accomplished
and encouraged by management and staff alike.
Russell L. Kaldenberg
Cultural Resource Program Manager
California Desert District
AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVENTORY REPORT OF THE
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA DESERT AREA
Richard H. Brooks, Richard Wilson and Sheilagh Brook;
Archaeological Research Center
UNLV Museum of Natural History
with sections by
Joseph King, Matthew McMackin, Margaret Miller
Ralph Roske and Arnie Cunningham Turner
Prepared for the
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
California Desert District
1695 Spruce St.
Riverside, CA 92507
Contract No. YA-512-CT7-250
Riverside, CA Library
Bureau of Land Management
npnver Federal Center
300 Copies DlH<
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT LIBRARY
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF MAPS AND TABLES ii
1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF OWLS HEAD/ AMARGOSA-
MOJAVE BASIN DESERT PLANNING UNIT 8
Footnotes to Historical Background 42
by Ralph Roske
2. ETHNOGRAPHIC BACKGROUND 55
by Arnie Cunningham Turner
3. GEOGRAPHICAL AND GEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND 66
by Matthew McMackin & Richard H. Brooks
Spring and Well Log 80
4. BIOTA OF THE AMARGOSA BASIN-MOJAVE DESERT. ... 93
by Joseph King
5. METHODOLOGY 100
6. SAMPLE DESIGN, STAGES 1, 11, 111 107
Stage 1 108
Stage 11 115
Stage 111 120
by Margaret Miller
7. SITE PREDICTABILITY BY TRANSECT LOCATION .... 132
8. ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE INTERPRETATIONS 147
Petroglyph from Mesquite Springs in the Mojave
Basin Placing Unit near Baker, CA.
LIST OF MAPS AND TABLES
Survey Area 2
Survey Area 3
Key Map to Topographic Area 4
Pluvial Lakes and Glaciers within
the Great Basin 72
Owens-to-Death Valley System of
Pluvial Lakes 73
Lakes and Playas in Southeastern
Stages I - III 138
Stage I 139
Stage II 140
Stage III 141
Private Lands 103
Section, Transect, Geomorphic Unit
for Stage I Ill
Site Types by Geomorphic Locale
for Stage I 112
Ratios of Site by Geomorphic Unit
for Stage I 112
Site Ratios by Geomorphic Unit for
Stage I 114
Geomorphic Distribution for Stage II ... -Q7
Section, Transect, Geomorphic Unit
for Stage II hq
Comparison Between Percentage Geomorphic
Units Surveyed for Stage I and Stage II . 119
Site Distribution Across Geomorphic
Units Between Stage I and II 121
LIST OF MAPS AND TABLES
(cont . )
Prehistoric Sites for Stage 1 and 11 ... . 122
Section, Transect, Geomorphic Unit
for Stage 111 123
Ratio of Sample Sites for Stages 1,
11 and 111 125
Geomorphic Distribution for Stage 111
and Geomorphic Distribution
for All Stages 126
Historic and Prehistoric Site
Distribution for Stage 111 127
Historic Sites for All Stages 129
Prehistoric Sites for All Stages 130
Concordance for Historic and
Prehistoric Sites 134
Concordance for Prehistoric Sites Only . . . 135
Concordance for Historic Sites Only .... 136
Site Types Geomorphological Locale 152
Frequency of Site Types to
Geomorphological Locale 160
Various petro?rlynh elements from Mesquite Springs
This project is part of a series of studies being done
in the California Desert by the Bureau of Land Management.
The area inventoried is 1% of approximately one million acres,
or 10,8 80 acres located in the southern half of the Owlshead/
Amargosa Planning Unit and the Mojave Basin Planning Unit. To
survey the project area at the 1% amount, a minimum requirement
of 136 one mile long by one-eighth mile wide transects were
walked. Twelve additional transects were surveyed to provide
corroborative data for certain key areas.
The sample design was divided into three stages; the first
completely random in transect selection, the second
pragmatically random and the third non-random. To interrelate
the environmental variables, six geomorphic strata, or locales,
were designated, consisting of mountain/hill, pediment/arroyo,
playa, dune, Mojave Sink and lava. A total of 151 historic
and prehistoric sites was encountered during the survey.
As the background for understanding the site distribution
patterns and the resource potentials of the project area,
sections are included concerning the history, geography/
geomorphology, biota, and ethnography.
Each site encountered is briefly described as to content
and locale and evaluated. The frequencies of site occurrence
by position of the transects within the six geomorphic strata
are considered with the implications of the results of this
data for site prediction. Site distribution and frequencies
are also discussed in relation to geomorphic locale and to
site type, historic or prehistoric. Geomorphic locale is
shown to be more predictive of site distribution than the
geomorphic stratum of the transects.
Petroglyph element from Rogers' M-36 at Saratoga Springs
This report consists of a cultural resource inventory
(Class II) for the southern Owlshead/Amargosa and Mojave
Basin Planning Unit, within the California Desert. These
planning units cover approximately one million acres in the
east-central part of the California Desert, within San
Bernardino County, California. "The Mohave Basin unit is
bounded on the east by the Bristol Mountains and an area
slightly east of Soda Lake, on the north by Interstate 15,
the Soda Mountains and Camp Irwin Military Reservation on
the west by the Cady Mountains, and on the south by the
Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Corps Training Center. The southern
half of the Owlshead/Amargosa Planning Unit is bounded on the
north by an east-west line from the Avawatz Mountains (at the
northeast corner of Camp Irwin Military Reservation) to the
Silurian Hills, on the west by the Camp Irwin Military
Reservation, on the south by the Soda Mountains and Interstate
15 and on the east by a line three miles east of Silver Lake
north of the Silurian Hills and Valjean Valley" (BLM, 1977:26),
Following the detailed instructions itemized in BLM
YA-512-RFP7-120 a bid proposal was submitted to the Bureau of
Land Management Office (BLM) in Denver, Colorado, by the
Archaeological Research Center, Museum of Natural History,
University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) , Nevada. On acceptance
of the proposal, Project and Contract Number YA-512-CT7-250
was issued by the BLM to the Research Center. Eric Ritter,
archaeologist in charge of the BLM Desert Planning Unit,
Riverside, California, is the COAR on this project.
The project was divided into four interrelated parts,
which were 1) the sampling design development; 2) the field
implementation, including ground coverage, site analysis and
recording; 3) site evaluation based on surface observations
in the field; 4) the analysis of the data in the laboratory
leading to the preparation of a Class II inventory report.
All four parts of the project were undertaken by Research
Center personnel or qualified consultants who cooperated in
their field of expertise.
The project was directed in the field and during the
laboratory analysis by Richard H. Brooks, Director of the
Archaeological Research Center and the Museum of Natural
History, UNLV. Field crew personnel who participated in no
other aspect of the project than surveying transects were
Lynda Brennan, Martin E. Bussard, Robert Ellis, David
Ferraro, James Foley, Carol A. Hepp, Michael Plyler and
Grant Tullis. Surveying of the transects was considered to
include preparation of field notes, field maps, site records
and the identification of photographs taken of transects or
SHADED AREA DEPICTS MOJAVE
BASIN AND SOUTHERN HALF OF
f- — a e x i
L, Training Center t
n . 1
Shaded area depicts the Mojave Basin and the southern half
of the Owlshead/Amargosa Planning Units.
MAP No. 3
Owl shead/ Amargo s a
Showing Quadrangle location with respect to the southern half of the
Owlshead/Amargosa-Mojave Basin Planning Unit.
Personnel who participated in both the field survey and
some aspect of the laboratory analysis included Joseph P.
King, ethno-botanist, Matthew McMackin, cartographer-geologist
Cary M. Stevens, photographer, and Richard A. Wilson, field
and technical supervisor.
Arnie Cunningham Turner worked on the project in the
laboratory and researched the ethno-history; Dr. Ralph Roske,
History Department, UNLV, researched and wrote the historical
section; and Margaret Miller, archaeological statistician,
Nevada Archaeological Survey, University of Nevada, Reno,
prepared the sampling design and conducted the statistical
Pattie Baldwin, Management Assistant II, Archaeological
Research Center, assisted in the preparation of all budgetary
matters, maintained all personnel records and served as the
Research Center liaison person. Dr. Sheilagh Brooks,
Anthropology Department, UNLV, edited the Class II inventory
In response to a supplement to the contract, provision
was made by the Research Center to employ a Native American
during the final phases of the survey. After consultation
with the secretary of the Moapa Indian Reservation, a young
man, who is a Paiute Indian, was suggested by the secretary
as a potential employee. When the project was explained to
Henry Gary, he accepted the job of Native American field
consultant, and agreed to accompany the Research Center
personnel in the field during the final phase of the survey.
Gary spent a total of ten days in the field with the survey
crews, conducting research in the areas of Ludlow, Mojave
Sink, and East and West Cronese Lakes. During this time he
participated in the survey, he walked transects with two
different groups of crew personnel, Wilson and Hepp, and
later with Bussard and Tullis. While in the field, Gary
walked transects with each group, observing and recording the
flora, fauna and archaeological sites.
Gary had the capability to identify archaeological sites
and was familiar with the prehistoric artifacts, tools and
assemblages within the sites. His father and he, when he was
younger, had located prehistoric sites in the vicinity of the
Moapa Reservation. His father had indicated the artifacts
and other identifying site material to him, and told him how
to recognize these types of data. Gary discussed with crew
members his impression that, as both a Native American and
a crew member, he could understand and provide insight into
the background of the aboriginal peoples who had left these
prehistoric remnants of their cultural past.
Contacts with the COA R
On October 16, 1977, the initial contact was made with
Eric Ritter, the COAR, at the Riverside Office of the BLM,
where the Desert Planning Unit was then located. R. H.
Brooks and P. Baldwin, accompanied by S. T. Brooks, met with
E. Ritter, Richard Brook and other members of the Desert
Planning Unit staff, to discuss the approach to be utilized
in conducting the survey project in concurrence with the
contract agreements. Subsequently, on January 3, 1978, E.
Ritter and R. Brook met in Las Vegas with R. H. Brooks, R.
Wilson, D. Ferraro and M. Miller, who had flown from Reno for
this consultation. At this meeting the initial transects for
the first stage of the survey were randomly selected, and it
was determined that the field portion of the project would
consist of three stages. The statistical methods that M.
Miller proposed to utilize for the analysis of the transect
survey were discussed with E. Ritter and R. Brook and
clarified at this time.
R. H. Brooks and R. Wilson spent from February 1 through
February 3, 1978, at the Desert Planning Unit Office in
Riverside, gathering the background data available there on
the project area, including known sites, water, vegetation,
geology, etc. At this meeting, E. Ritter suggested that the
ZZYZX Research Center could be used as a base of field
operation during the survey of transects in that area.
Through his assistance permission was obtained for field
crews to stay at the ZZYZX Research Center when working in
Twice during the spring field sessions, when the crew
was surveying transects in the northern portion of the
project area, E. Ritter met the crew in the field. The
first time, in the middle of February, was to demonstrate
to the field personnel the method in which the transects
should be established, surveyed, and familiarized them with
the BLM site recording forms. The second field meeting was
a recheck to see if problems had arisen in the interim.
Dr. Roske made prior telephone contact with the Desert
Planning Unit, then during the summer visited their office
to review the historical information available. This was
part of a trip that he made into southern California to
conduct historical research at various libraries which house
documents relevant to the project area.
Through Jerry Gates, caretaker at the ZZYZX Research
Center, information was obtained on access roads, potential
site areas and historic data regarding the immediate area.
For this inventory report, several specialists
participated as consultants to provide background data that
could be utilized for the interpretation and understanding
of the location or distribution of historic and prehistoric
sites. These background data include the sections on
history, geography and geomorphology, biota and ethnography.
The bibliographic references consulted in the preparation
of these sections are listed in the bibliography under the
respective section title. The historic section bibliographic
reference also includes footnotes for more specific
referencing that were provided by Roske. The remainder of
the bibliography contains all the bibliographic references
utilized in the sections prepared by the Research Center
staff, which is the body of this report, and one reference
from the Appendices.
Section 6 contains the sampling design, the three stages
of the design and their results. Two of these, Stage 1 and
Stage 2, as well as the sampling design were previously
submitted to the COAR. In the initial analysis Miller used
transect records from Stage 1, and where unworked flakes
were noted she considered this as evidence of a site.
Consequently, Miller has listed in her conclusions a total
of 166 historic and prehistoric sites, since she considered
isolated unworked flakes cultural evidence of prehistoric
activity. In the discussion of site occurrence by transect,
isolate sites are used as a concordance factor, as well as
in the correlations of the site frequency by geomorphic locale
(p.l32ff.) none of the isolated sites are considered in the
The authors wish to thank Clinton E. Stay, Sr. and
Evelyn Stay Moden of Las Vegas, Nevada for funding the typing
of this manuscript for publication through a private donation.
Typical topography of the Owlshead/Amargosa Planning\units .
This view is from the northern Avawatz Mountains lookrng into
Death Valley to the east. Photo by Russell L. Kaldenberg,
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF OWLSHEAD/AMARGOSA-MOJAVE
BASIN DESERT PLANNING UNITS
For hundreds of years, before the first European
contact, there existed a network of trails that linked
waterholes in the western end of the Mojave Desert. The
Indian commercial traffic passed through the various Mohave
settlements of the eastern desert. This relatively
waterless desert crossing evolved into two main routes: one
by way of Pah Ute Creek and Rock Spring to Soda Springs,
that in contact times became known as the Mohave Trail. The
other route, the "Pah-Ute" route, ran south of the first
trail through Foshay Pass and then to the north of the Kelso
Dunes, where it joined the flood plain of the Mojave River
about Soda Lake's southeast corner.
The Mohave trail spanned 270 miles between Needles and
Los Angeles Mission San Gabriel. Colorado River Indians,
particularly the Mohave, used the route named for them in
pre-contact times as a trading trail across the territory
of the Chemehuevi to the southern California coast. This
network of the Mohave permitted them to trade for baskets
with many groups; allowed them to get steatite from the
far-off coastal Chumash; to obtain chicken hawk and eagle
down from Chemehuevi; and rabbit skin blankets were
bartered from the Paiutes. For their part in the trade the
Mohave principally bartered for pottery, beadwork, and
gourds. With the introduction of the horse by the Spaniards
in the sixteenth century, the Mohaves became notable horse
traders and thieves, driving horses east and west over the
Mohave Trail to eager Indian purchasers. The original
Mohave Trail became in the nineteenth century (with
variations) , the Fort Mohave Government Road.
The prehistorical trails had considerable impact upon
the events of the historical period, and as a result a look
at the route and its commerce is in order.
The initial Spanish entrada occurred far to the south
of the study area in the region of the Yuma crossing. In
January, 1774, the Spaniards, hoping to create a land link
between the struggling California settlements and the older,
established cities and towns of Mexico, sent Captain Juan
Bautista de Anza on an expedition accompanied by Father
Francisco Tomas Hermenegildo Garces, who served as a guide. 2
The trek of Garces and Anza in the fall of 1775 had a
more immediate impact for the planning units area. This
party consisted of California-bound settlers, except for
Anza's military escort and the Franciscan missionaries, a
total of 240 persons. Garces again served as guide for the
party to Yuma, where the priest accompanied by Indian
companions left the main group. Garces and his companions
traveled north from the Yuma crossing on the Colorado River,
reaching the main Mohave villages in the Needles area.
Garces left there for the west guided by experienced Indian
travelers. While the major Mohave trail may have been
located south of the route he then took, it seems likely
the guides used it because the northern variant afforded
better water and pasturage.
To the best of existing documentary knowledge, Garces
crossed Paiute Wash, now the site of the Klinefelter
Springs, traversed Foshay Pass in the Providence Mountains,
skirted the Kelso Dunes near modern Flynn, to a spot on the
western shore of dry Soda Lake near Soda Springs. From
Soda Springs, Garces became the first known European to
travel the Mohave Trail. It paralleled the Mojave River
from the Cady Mountains southwesterly to the southern edge
of the Calico Mountains, passing near modern Yermo and
Barstow. Garces followed the Mojave River along its
southern course to the foothills of the San Bernardino
Mountains, where he followed Sawpit Canyon to the summit.
He was able to descend the range's northern slope by a ridge
to the west of Devil Canyon, and went on to San Gabriel
After resting and obtaining fresh supplies, together
with Indian guides Garces began the return part of his
trip. Leaving through Cajon Pass his party followed
essentially the Mohave Trail to Yermo and then retraced
its steps to Soda Lake.
There Garces altered his course to a more northern
route that brought him to Indian Creek, Willow Wash and to
Marl Springs. Then Garces went to Kelso Wash and the Mid
Hills, continuing across Lanfair Valley to Paiute Creek.
At Paiute Creek Garces turned north-northeast along the
creek to Klinefelter Spring, where he rejoined his previous
westward track. He left California north of Needles upon
his way to Tubac in Arizona. 3
Because of the hostile incursion of the Mohave Indians
into coastal California, late in 1819 Spanish Lieutenant
Gabriel Moraga led a military force to fight them. His
force descended the Mojave River and then proceeded eastward
into the waterless desert. He went a full days travel
beyond Soda Lake (the Mojave Sink) before turning back
because he had run dangerously low on food and water. 4
Between 1826-1831, American Mountain men, fur trappers,
traveled through the study area many times. The first of
these was Jedediah Smith who established a trail between
Needles and Los Angeles. Seeking both furs and new trade
opportunities, Smith and a party left northern Utah in the
summer of 1826, and traveling through southern Utah, Nevada
and northern Arizona reached the east bank of the Colorado
near the present locale of Needles. Engaging two Indians
to guide his party, Smith went westward along the long
traveled Mohave Trail, stopping the first night (November
10) at Paiute Spring after crossing the edge of the Dead
Mountains. The second night (November 11) he stopped at
Vontrigger Spring. Then, he and his party moved west and
a little north, camping in the Providence Mountains at a
spring which has never been conclusively identified on
November 12. The next days trek (November 13) was
relatively short and led across Kelso Wash to Marl Springs.
The party marched between Kelso Peak and Old Dad Mountains
to Soda Lake's northern edge by the night of November 14.
Then, having discovered the Mojave *s mouth, the group
pressed up what Smith would dub the "Inconstant River" to
the usual camping spot beyond Soda Lake, about the present
site of Afton. On the night of the 15th Smith's party
stayed with the Mojave River, eventually reaching the site
of Victorville. Apparently Smith did not use Cajon Pass
in 1826, but ascended Sawpit Canyon and traversed Devil's
Canyon, and then San Bernardino Valley. He pushed on,
eventually reaching San Gabriel Mission. His party's
reception by the Mexicans was hostile. After suffering a
brief imprisonment he returned to the fur trappers rendevous
by way of central California and central Nevada, far to the
north of the study area, in mid-June, 182 7. 5
Undaunted, Smith planned a new foray and, taking much
the same route as the year before, came down the Colorado
River to the Needles area in the summer of 1827. In 1827
the Mohaves became hostile and turned on Smith while his
party was crossing the Colorado River, killing ten of his
men. Smith had not known it, but a trapping party under
mountain man James Ohio Pattie had, between Smith's two
visits, entered the area and wantonly killed one of the
Mohave chiefs. The Indians retaliated against Smith.
Losing much of his supplies and equipment, Smith and eight
survivors successfully fought off the Indians and plunged
on foot into the Mojave Desert. This time Smith had no
Indian guides, but he drew upon his experiences the year
before to survive. In 1827 his trip was much more hurried,
as he in just nine and a half days, on foot, covered the
distance between the Colorado and San Bernardino, which
had taken him fifteen days on horseback the year before.
His first camp was located at the same place as the year
before, Paiute Spring. This time Smith took a more
northerly track after leaving this waterhole. He found
his way to Rock Spring, covering in two days nearly the
distance of three days travel in 1826. From Rock Spring
he led his party west to Marl Springs where he had
previously camped in 1826. Then, heading south and west, he
passed below Kelso Peak and into the Devil's Playground
reaching the north edge of Soda Lake where he made his fourth
camp. Recognizing his former track he went west to the Afton
area near Cave Mountain. Then he followed the trail of his
previous trip up the Mojave River. Departing from his
previous track, he used Cajon Pass, which he called the "Gape
of the Mountains," to travel into coastal California. Smith
had renewed interest in the Mohave Trail for non-Indian
travel, which had originally been sparked by Garces in the
In the years immediately after Jedediah Smith's visit,
there was a steady stream of other Americans to California
by way of the Mohave Indian Trail. Some of them stayed in
California and married into prominent California families;
others returned east to spread descriptions of California.
Among these early American Mojave Desert travelers was
George C. Yount and William Wolfskin, Ewing Young and Kit
Although the Spaniards had been interested in linking
their New Mexico colonies with the California settlements,
they never did so. After Mexico succeeded Spain as the
claimant of the Southwest with the coming of Mexican
independence in 1822, the link to California was finally
accomplished by merchant Antonio Armijo in 1829-1830.
Armijo traveled a most roundabout route. Because of
northern Arizona's rough country and the more dangerous
Arizona Indians, the Armijo expedition headed northwest
from New Mexico into central and then southern Utah and
southern Nevada. Then they descended the Colorado River
to the Needles area and turned west following the tracks of
Garces and Smith to the Los Angeles region.
Although it is certain that Armijo did not take the
route of the old Spanish Trail through Las Vegas, Nevada,
that northern route of the Mohave Trail has been accepted
for years as the way later travelers from New Mexico
normally went in the 1830s and 1840s. 8 Yet, in recent
years, this conclusion has seriously been challenged by two
historians, Elizabeth Warren^ a nd Dennis CasebierlO.
The previously established version claimed that the
trail veered from Utah, crossed the Virgin Route and then
ran to Las Vegas. From there it proceeded to Cottonwood
Springs, Mountain Springs, Resting Springs, and down the
Amargosa River to Salt Springs, Bitter Springs and then
over to the Mojave River. This northern route was the way
John C. Fremont crossed the desert in 1844, and he highly
publicized his track. Also, after 1848, the year America
gained title to the Southwest, this road became the route
of the Salt Lake to Los Angeles wagon way called the Mormon
According to Warren and Casebier this version of the
old Spanish Trail remained in the 1830s and early 1840s a
minor variant taken mostly by rustlers and bandits, rather
than merchant caravans. These caravans may have journeyed
south through southern Nevada, entering the area of modern
California through a north-south valley, such as Pah-Ute
Valley. The caravans could have followed Smith and Garces 1
tracks, with minor variations, along the Mohave Indian trail
to the Mojave River. H
A New Mexican merchant, Francois X. Aubry, in late 1852
and early 1853 drove sheep from New Mexico to California by
way of Fort Yuma, on his return trip sought the best route
for a trans-Pacific railroad. Leaving the San Francisco Bay
area in June 1853, Aubry with 19 companions mounted on horses
and mules reached Tejon Pass north of Los Angeles and then
headed east. He followed the Mojave River for 38 miles
before angling off to the northeast on a variant of the Old
Spanish Trail. His notes are so imprecise that there is the
possibility that he went through the northern edge of the
study area. In late 1853 he repeated his sheep driving trip
from New Mexico to California and, heading northeasterly
from the Mojave River, returned by about the same route as
before. In 1854, he tried to find a spot on the Colorado
some 50 miles below his 1853 fording of the river, so he may
have been south of his earlier (1853) track and within the
northern edge of the study area. Unfortunately, before
Aubry could better organize his sparse travel notes after
his return, he was fatally stabbed in a brawl at Santa Fe.^-2
Between Aubry 's two trips of 185 3 and 1854, the study
area was entered from the west late in 1853 by a member of
the army's topographical corps; Lieutenant Robert Stockton
Williamson leading the expedition. He was accompanied by
several scientists and other civilian employees, together
with a small cavalry escort commanded by Lieutenant George
Stoneman. The expedition's purpose was the discovery of
the most practical railroad route through California.
In early October, 1853, Williamson's party traveled
southward from his explorations of Tejon Pass and the Canyon
de las Uvas. Meanwhile, a sub-group under Lieutenant Parke
traversed the San Fernando Pass and the San Gabriel and
Santa Ana Valleys. By the middle of October the reunited
parties made camp on the Mojave River. Williamson from
this base dispatched Lieutenant Parke to follow the Mojave
River to discover if there were a good pass at its end. He
followed the river and beyond for one hundred miles.
Williamson himself studied the course of the Mojave River
as far as the place in the canyon where the road left the
stream. Breaking into two sub-groups they moved westward
outside the Mojave Desert. 13
Also entering the study area in the late winter of
18 54, was another young topographical corps officer,
Lieutenant Amiel Weeks Whipple, who led an expedition
consisting of ten technicians, plus a military escort of 70
men. This party left the Canadian River in modern Oklahoma
and marched as far as Albuquerque, New Mexico, territory.
From there the party moved west to the Colorado at Bill
Williams Fork. Then Whipple's party turned north on the
Colorado to Needles. There the expedition followed Smith
and Garces 1 tracks (the Mohave Indian Trail) to the west as
far as the Mojave River, Whipple giving what proved to be
permanent names to several geographical features, including
Soda Lake. This railroad surveying expedition followed the
Mojave River as far as the wagon road to San Bernardino
that branched off at Oro Grande to the southwest. 14
The unofficial explorations of Aubry, and the two
official expeditions of Williamson and Whipple, resulted in
the accumulation of a large body of geographical information
about railroad geography, but the area needed further
scientific study before it would be ready for settlement.
The federal General Land Office contracted with private firms,
called deputy surveyors, to fix the township lines and to
subdivide these townships. Contracts were let between 1854
and 1856, with the actual field surveys being made from 1855
to 1857. The surveyors wandered over the Mojave Desert
setting their markers. The work was hastily, often poorly,
done. As a result, their monuments and markers could often
not be located later. 15
By the late 1850s, American public interest turned to
postal routes and wagon routes. Congress appropriated
money to survey and to improve the Government Road or, as
it also became known, the Thirty-Fifth Parallel route,
between 1857 to 1860. The western portion of this road ran
across the Mojave Desert through the study area.
On June 1857, Edward F. Beale led an expedition from
Texas with the purpose of surveying a wagon road to
California and testing the usefulness of 25 camels on the
American desert. After leaving El Paso they followed the
earlier track of Lieutenant Whipple's route to the northwest.
By mid-October 18 57 the party had reached the Colorado River
fifteen miles north of the present city of Needles, Califor-
nia, after surveying a wagon road from Fort Defiance.
Unhappily, Beale did not record his track across the Mojave
Desert to Fort Tejon. In his report he only said that he
followed "the United States surveyor's trail from the river
to Los Angeles."
After spending only a few weeks in Los Angeles, on
January 6, 1858, Beale took fourteen camels and twenty men
over the return road in winter. He crossed the Mojave Desert,
presumably over the trail of the same name, reaching the
Colorado River in January, 1858. Here he happened to meet
Captain George Alonso Johnson who, with his steamer the
General Jessup, had journeyed up river. Johnson ferried
Beale's expedition safely across the river, and they
moved on eastward.
On October 28, 1858, Beale in a return trip headed
west from Fort Smith, Arkansas. Running into cold weather
he and his party wintered in New Mexico. In the late
winter he again started west, reaching Albuquerque on March
3, 1854. On April 18, 1859, Beale met a relief expedition
with additional supplies near the modern city of Flagstaff,
Arizona. Beale's party camped on the west bank of the
Colorado River. His party spent two months improving the
road through western Arizona. Finishing this task, by the
early summer he marched his column over the familiar Mohave
Indian Route, across the Mojave Desert to Fort Tejon in the
Los Angeles area. Then Beale returned east, leaving on
July 2, 1859, from the Los Angeles region, and twenty-seven
days later reached Albuquerque. Thus Beale had conducted
his surveys while also attempting an experiment in the use
of camels on the American desert. 16
Since Beale's work on the Government Road was well
covered in the eastern newspapers, emigrants attempted to
utilize the trail, only to be turned back by a Mohave attack
in August, 1858. Also, a westbound mail route from Kansas
City, Missouri to Stockton, California had its riders
harassed by the Mohaves. 1 '
The Mohaves, together with their fellow riverine peoples
the Kamia and Yuma, were the only California Indians to
develop a tribal organization larger than a village. Steady
pressure from the nomadic southwestern people forced the
Mohave Indians to unite for protection. Also, this pressure
fostered the development of warlike values in Mohave culture.
The harsh desert environment also pushed the Mohaves to
develop a limited type of agriculture. Because of these
facts, the Mohave Indians are sometimes not regarded as one
of the pacifistic groups of California Indians. 18 The
Mohaves had been hostile to the white intruders at least as
far back as 1827, when James Ohio Pattie ' s party had outraged
them by killing one of their chiefs. 19 It seems unlikely
that any agitation by the Mormons at the time of the 1857
occupation of Utah by the federal army of Albert Sidney
Johnston inspired the Mohave's warlike attitude. It may
have been their desire to control and exploit American tra-
velers, as they had the Spaniards and Mexicans. 20
In December, 1858, Major William Hoffman with a
company of dragoons rode from Los Angeles to the Colorado
River to reconnoiter the country around Beale's crossing
fifteen miles north of Needles. The exuberant Mohaves,
flushed with success after repelling the emigrants,
harassed the cavalry column. Then, on January 9, 1859,
the Indians forced a brief skirmish in which they lost about
ten warriors. Hoffman prudently retreated to the Los
Angeles area for reinforcements. Hoffman was reinforced by
six companies of infantry. Two companies of infantry
marched overland and rendezvoused with the rest of the
expedition, who came by water to Fort Yuma. In April, 1859,
the whole force, over seven hundred strong, marched north-
ward. This force comprised about half the size of the
entire Mohave nation. The Indians were so impressed by it
that they surrendered. To hold the Mohaves in check, the
troops built Fort Mohave on the eastern bank of the river.
Two companies of infantry, and some artillery, garrisoned
it. 21 As a result of the fort's establishment, the old
Mohave Indian trail became a wagon road, crossing the Mojave
Desert by way of the study area, hauling supplies from Los
Angeles to the fortification. 22 The Mohave Road continued
its importance until the railroad from Los Angeles by way
of Daggett to Needles captured the passenger traffic in the
1880s. Then the Mohave road lost travelers who preferred
the railroad line. Water could always be procured from the
railroad's water tanks. Also, traffic north or south could
go from the railroad stations. 2 3
The still important wagon route was protected in the
late 1850s and early 1860s by a series of miliary outposts
along its course. The army founded Camp Sugar Loaf (near
Barstow) in 1858; Fort Beale in 1859; Camp Cady in 1860;
Camp Marl in 1865; Camp Rock Spring in 1866 and Fort Soda
in 1866. 24
This fort building was sparked by an incident in the
early 1860s along the Salt Lake Wagon Road, basically the
Old Spanish Trail, when Indians whose identity was never
discovered had killed three white men. The army sent an
expedition led by Major James H. Carleton to punish the
offending Indians, who were supposed to be Paiutes.
Carleton 's dragoons passed through the study area, although
his largest battle, Kelso Dunes, occurred outside the study
area. Although Carleton' s foray was successful, it did not
lessen Indian hostility. 25 Especially after the Civil War
began, and the regular troops were withdrawn to the east,
small parties of whites were regularly harassed by the
Indians. 2 6
As a result, in 1866-1868 when the Arizona overland
mail was carried over the Government/Mohave Road, the army
authorities established protecting relay forts, including
one at the former outpost in the study area at Soda Springs.
It was composed of rough and unelaborate stone structures.
It was abandoned after a year's occupation, when the military
imposed a peace on the Indians. 2 '
By 1863 the mining phase of eastern San Bernardino
County's history had begun. Up to this time the American
impact upon this area was small. Away from the principal
roads and trails, and the scattered forts, life had gone on
much as before white contact.
In the 1860s mining dominated the area's economy,
although this area's mines were isolated without railroad
transportation. Yet indigent prospectors stimulated by the
Nevada Comstock discovery of 1859 searched to find rich ores
that they could sell to investors financially able to develop
them. By the 1870s the pattern had shifted, and small
operators tried unsuccessfully to compete with the larger
corporations who had entered the field. The greatest problem
throughout the period 1860-1880 was the area's isolation and
the consequent high cost of transportation. 2 &
Rock Springs Mining District
The first mining occurred in the desert east of the
Rock Springs Mining District, which experienced a burst of
activity between 1863-1866. Small amounts of gold and
silver were mined and sent to San Francisco mills. The ore
mined was of the sample variety in an attempt to obtain
financial backing for a more serious effort to mine. 29
Clark Mining District
Far to the east of the study area in the Clark Mining
District located to the east of the Clark Mountains, Ivanpah
(site I) became the center of this activity mining precious
metals (gold) . Mining operations continued intermittently
at this site until the 1930s. 30
As a result, hopeful prospectors fanned out over the
San Bernardino County desert lands, including the study
area. This activity resulted in a silver strike as early
as 1874 in the Calico District west of the study region. 31
Indeed, during the ten years from 1863 to 1873 Wells Fargo
Company alone shipped bullion worth $115,000 from San
This strike led to mining activity in the study area
as well. The Avawatz mountains, a high range in San
Bernardino County, had a northern slope which was the site
of one of the earliest gold mines in California, the
Amargosa. This mine possessed a mill as early as 1856,
but apparently the ore soon played out. Busy prospectors
in the late nineteenth century found native silver ore
mixed with the gold. Soon arastras to crush the ore
dotted the mountains landscape. Ultimate success eluded
those mines, because the deposits proved to be superficial . ^3
Palms Mining District
Far to the south of the study area mining activity also
began. The water available at Twenty-Nine Palms caused it
to become a mining base camp for the Palms Mining District.
Early in 1873 several mines were filed on likely-looking
lodes. The most productive and largest mine in the district
was J. Voshay's Blue Jay, located at Township 2N, Range 9E,
of the San Bernardino baseline and meridian. Nonetheless,
all these early claims soon played out, and the Palm District
grew quiet. 34
In the 1880s, when the Santa Fe Railroad was constructed
through the Mojave Desert, its previous isolation vanished.
The railroad managers quickly realized the need to complement
their cross country traffic with local freight and passenger
business. This realization meant encouraging mining in the
lightly populated desert areas. A wagon road was built
parallel to the railroad tracks, and at stations supplies
and water were made available to prospectors. 35
As a result of this stimulus, on the western edge of the
study area about 35 miles northeast of Daggett, the Alvord
District was created in 1885 located in Sections 1, 2, and 12,
Township UN, Range 3E, San Bernardino meridian. -^ The
Alvord mine had been active periodically from 1885 to 1870.
Similarly, in the Twenty-Nine Palms area mining activity
increased after 1883. Lew Curtis, a prospector, discovered
placer gold in the high ground to the east. Another miner,
John Burt, had successful diggings on the shores of a dry
lake which bore his name. This lake was later called Dale.
Particularly, in the north end of the Pinto Basin, dry placer
mining was employed to separate gold from the caliche. A
dry lake nearly 15 miles east of Twenty-Nine Palms and
approximately 6 miles north of the dry placer diggings became
the scene of an arastra, which was built because a well could
be dug there. The arastra milled the districts ore. A town
named Virginia Dale sprang up there. The origin of the
settlements name is unknown.
The first large mine in the district was located on the
west slope of Black Mountains. Although the ore was only
medium or low grade, in 1885 two prospectors filed claims
for a mine called Virginia Dale called after the town. In
time the Virginia Dale consisted of 6 claims, at an elevation
of 2000 ft. The original two prospectors, Johnny Wilson and
Tom Lyons formed the Virginia Dale Mining Company. At first
results were disappointing, and so in 1889 operations ceased.
The original prospectors then sold out, and one owner after
another bought in and quickly sold out. In 1923 a period of
operation ended suddenly. In the 1930s the price of gold
permitted the use of improved milling machinery, and some
activity resulted at the Virginia Dale.
After the discovery of the Virginia Dale mine, it was
not long before other mines were also operating in the area.
This activity persisted, despite the fact that Dale was
perhaps the most isolated of all the districts in southern
California. The only wagon trail of any economic importance
in the district was the route to the Colorado River, blazed
by the old mountain men, and a miner with the improbable
name of Pauline Weaver. For his own purpose he kept the
trail a secret for a time. It is conjectured that the
Morongo Indians showed it to him. The road ran up the
Morongo Valley to Yucca Valley and then on to Twenty-Nine
Palms. From there it passed through the site of the modern
community of Rice, ending at the Colorado River opposite the
mouth of Bill Williams River. Present day California 62
follows much of this route. Also, during the time that Dale
existed, there were three consecutive camp sites. For
example, the Virginia Dale camp and mine were actually the
second Dale townsite. The second camp lasted the longest,
from about 1886 to 1917, when the restrictions of World War
I aided in the demise of the second mining effort.
South of the Virginia Dale mine was the claim called
the Supply Mine. During the course of its operation this
claim produced millions in gold and caused one of the
relocations of the Dale camp. It is located at Sections 21,
22, 27, and 28, Township 18, Range 12E of the San Bernardino
base and meridian. The claim had a sister claim, the OK or
Storm King Consolidated, located at Section 35, Township IS,
Range 12E on the San Bernardino baseline and meridian. No
records exist to verify who discovered these claims. About
1900 the two mines belonged to a corporation called Seal of
Gold. This company built an excellent ten-stamp mill and
a shaft to a depth of 600 ft. The Supply Mine, which had
richer ore bodies, was not so well equipped, as it had only
three two-stamp batteries in its refinery mill. From the
edge of Dale Dry Lake water was piped to both holdings.
Around 1908 the Seal of Gold partnership dissolved and
litigation engulfed the new owners. In 1909 operations
proceeded for a short time under court approved leases. The
lawsuits were finally settled, and the United Greenwater
combine took control in 1914. For three years, under all
sorts of difficulties for the United Greenwater Company,
the mine yielded almost one million dollars. One of the
original Seal of Gold operators, H. A. Landwehr, then
operated it, expanding the holdings. As late as 1931
California's division of mines reported the Supply Mine to
comprise some nine claims of patents at the height of 2300
ft on Dale Hill's west slope. 37
Operated without any close ties in the western district,
except for water supply, was the Brooklyn mine. It was
located in Section 36, Township IS, Range IE, on the San
Bernardino base and meridian. This gold containing vein was
originally found in 1893. A corporation, the Brooklyn
Mining Company, worked it from 1901 to 1918. Then its
operations continued intermittantly between 1916 and 1930,
together with an adjoining mine, the Los Angeles. Before
1930 the Brooklyn output was $150,000. During the 1930s,
after a break in operations for the worst of the depression,
the output of both mines was worth only $13, 000. 38
Halloran Springs District
In the 1890s the Halloran Springs District, 12 miles to
the northeast of Baker, was prospected for gold. The
prospectors found ancient artifacts there, which indicated
that turquoise had been mined in this area in prehistoric
times. The best producer of the district was the Telegraph
Mine, which was not found until 1930. This mine is located
in Sections 16, 17, and 20, Township 15N, Range HE of San
Bernardino base and meridian. Its total output to 1952
approximated $100, 000. 39
Old Dad Mining District
On the eastern edge of the study district are the Old
Dad Mountains, twelve miles east of Baker. Gold was
discovered here in the 1890s. Later, there was considerable
activity by the unemployed miners in the 1930s and 1940s.
Some mining activity persisted down to 1970. Among the
biggest producing mines was the Paymaster (Whitney) Mine.
Its locations is Sections 22 and 23, Township 13N, Range 10E,
of the San Bernardino base and meridian. In somewhat over
fifty-two years, between 1900-1952, it yielded $50,000 to
$100,000 in gold. By 1952 the working crew had dropped to
three men.^O Another large producer was the Brannigan Mine,
located at Sections 26 and 27, Township 13N, Range 10E, San
Bernardino base and meridian. Claims were filed in the mine
area as early as 1905, but shipments of ore were restricted
to 1928-1935. In that period it yielded several thousand
tons of gold ore. 41 Among other gold producers in this area
is the Oro Fino, located at Sections 23, 26, Township 13N,
Range 10E, of the San Bernardino base and meridian. This
area prospered in the 18 90s, but the period of greatest activity
was 1930-1945. 42
One of the most important gold mining districts from
the standpoint of sustained outside interest by investors
is the Stedman, or as it also has been known, the Rochester
or Buckeye District. This district lies in the north central
part of San Bernardino County, eight miles south of Ludlow. 43
In the 1880s this area became known as the Rochester district
because of an ore discovery by John Suter, an Atlantic
Pacific (forerunner of the Santa Fe) roadmaster, who filed
.claim to the area 8 miles south of Ludlow. The district's
principal mine was located at Sections 7 and 8, Township 6N,
Range 8E, San Bernardino base and meridian. 44
This mine yielded more gold and copper than any other
mine in San Bernardino County. Between 1904-1952 the mine
produced more than $6,000,000, or over half the recorded gold
mining, by value in the county since 1880. 45
In 1900 John Suter & Co. developed the district. However,
Suter became discouraged and sold out in early 1901 to
prominent buyers associated with the ownership of the New York
Central Railroad. These leading money men organized a new
company, the Bagdad Mining and Milling Company, to exploit
these holdings. As a result of lack of water at the site,
the investors decided to use the milling facilities at Barstow.
Related to this milling decision, they had to build a feeder
railroad from the mine to the Santa Fe tracks at Ludlow, so
the main railroad line could then deliver the ore to Barstow.
In July, 1902, the Ludlow and Southern Railway was incorpor-
ated, and a contract signed to build its tracks, 46 which ran
after completion lh miles to Ludlow. 47 Meanwhile, the Bagdad
Corporation filed many additional claims in the area. 48
A mine near the Bagdad owned by John R. Gentry was also
acquired. As a result, between 1902-1904, the Gentry, Bagdad,
and the neighboring Roosevelt Mine were amalgamated and
worked as one giant operation, the Bagdad-Chase Mining Company.
Meanwhile, the feeder railroad was completed after eight
months of sustained effort in early 1903 at a cost of $80, 000. 49
Between 1904 to 1910 the mines yielded 150,000 tons of
ore which was treated at Barstow. 50 From 1910 to 1916 the
Pacific Mines Corporation operated the mines. By 1916 the
leading investor John Hays Hammond withdrew, as he became
interested in petroleum development. Declining yield at the
Bagdad-Chase holding also caused investment interest to shift,
and the property passed into the hands of receivers. 51 By
1916 the Ludlow & Southern, because of declining traffic,
ceased operations. By the summer of 1935 much of its track
was taken up (See Railroad section for further details) .
Between 1916-1932 sublease operators occasionally worked the
mine without much success. 52 Then, in 19 38, a group of
investors known as the D'aix Syndicate operated this mine
for twelve months in 1938-1939, producing 850 tons of ore,
averaging $980 per ton in gold. 53 Because of the money
problems created by the outbreak of World War II these
investors withdrew from the exploration of mines. Between
1940-1954 various leasees worked the property, until the
later date when all operations were shut down because of
rising costs and declining yield. 4 It was still closed 8
years later in 1962.55
Avawatz District (20th Century)
In the north of the area, the Avawatz Mountain region
saw a new burst of energy in the twentieth century, about
1910, in the mine located in Section 26, Township 16N, Range
6E, San Bernardino base and meridian. Avawatz Crown Mine
properties were developed by a Los Angeles group of investors
Their operations involved largely the surface deposits,
although one shaft was sunk to a vein. In all, some 84
ounces of silver was recovered. However, since the world
price was only 42 cents an ounce, the mine did not v/arrant
further exploitation of its resources.
Alvin B. Carpenter, a Los Angeles mining engineer, was
consulted by the owner corporation, Crown Company. He
became so smitten with the mine's prospects that he took an
option on it himself. In the latter part of 1917 a consider-
able strike of lead-silver ore led to a rush of prospectors
to the area. Yet it was difficult to raise large sums of
mining capital because of World War I. Consequently, nothing
further was accomplished at the mine site. In May 1919, the
Avawatz Consolidated Mines took over the property from the
former Crown Company. The Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad ran
nearby, and the mine was linked to it by an eleven mile long
wagon road. The high hopes of the Avawatz Consolidated
investors in their lead-silver ore was never realized,
although as late as 1943 Avawatz Consolidated Mines Company
of Los Angeles purchased the property. 56
In all, the peak of San Bernardino's precious metals
mining ran from 1883 through 1888 and from 1901 to 1906,
1913-1917, 1921-1928, 1934-1942. Also helpful to San
Bernardino's economy was the mining of copper starting 1888-
1900. Copper was important as a mining product in 1912, and
then throughout the World War I period. It remained at a
low level during the Great Depression, and even World War II
stimulated its mining only mildly. 57 After World War II
there continued to be some sporadic mining for construction
and other industrial materials. For example, a prosaic
material, such as cinders, was quarried from the Lava Flow
area and cinder cones region located southeast of Baker. 58
Mining in the study area, as in mining generally, is
not entirely governed by rich veins and worthwhile ores, but
is also the result of world demand based on existing
economic conditions. Thus, prosperity or failure is less
the result of miners efforts and more a result of the world
economy. It is noteworthy that as recently as 1977 only
711 persons were employed by mining enterprises in all of
San Bernardino County. *9
Long before the United States took possession of the
Pacific Coast region, it was already interested in a trans-
continental railroad as a trade route to the Orient.
Therefore, after the conclusion of the Mexican War, when
the United States obtained California and the Southwest,
interest in a Pacific railroad soared.
The only seriously inhibiting factor was the controversy
over which exact railroad routes was best. The two sections,
the North and the South of the United States fast dividing in
those pre-Civil War years, quarreled over the best route,
considering that each placed its own sectional needs
uppermost. 6 ^ The Thirty-Fifth Parallel Route for the railroad
had its feasibility demonstrated in the 1850s by various
explorers. Yet it remained unbuilt for two reasons. First,
it ran through Mohave Indian country, and until those warlike
Indians were subdued (as they were by Major Hoffman in 1859-
1860) it could not be constructed. Second, after the Mohaves
were conquered, the North and South had split too far apart
to agree on any proposed route of the transcontinental
Of the various railroad surveys, Lieutenant Whipple's
was the most thorough study of the project area. Early in
1854, with his survey party guided by Mohave Indians, he
took a path that was a variant of the Mohave Trail. Since
this trail crossed high, rugged mountains, it was clearly
not the best line for a railroad. A railroad line built
farther south could avoid the mountains, and so be
constructed across level ground. 62
After the Civil War closed, in 1868 a railroad surveyor,
General William Jackson Palmer, in the employ of the eastern
division of the Union Pacific Railroad, traveled a route
through the Mojave Desert, avoiding the mountains and
following a line approximately south of the Old Mohave Road.
It ran from Needles to Daggett. A railroad was not
immediately built as a result of Palmer's survey, but in
1883 one was finished that substantially utilized his route,
the Santa Fe Railroad of today. 63
The Atlantic and Pacific Railroad
The construction story of this line began when Congress
chartered the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad on July 27, 1866.
The line was designed to run from Springfield, Missouri, to
the Pacific Ocean. Another section of the enabling act,
however, authorized the Southern Pacific Railroad to build
south from the San Francisco Bay area to meet the Atlantic
and Pacific on the eastern border of California. The seeds
of dissention were sown by this arrangement. 64
The A & P stalled about 327 miles from St. Louis while
crossing the Indian territory (modern Oklahoma) . Adverse
financial conditions forced a reorganization to a new
company, the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad Company.
This new corporation acquired the existing track and franchise
as well as the congressional land grants of the former
company. The underfinanced new company was soon in trouble.
The large investors of the Atchinson, Topeka & Santa Fe
Railroad, which desperately wanted a California outlet,
entered into negotiations with the financially troubled S.L.
and S.F. Two complicated arrangements were concluded on
January 31, 188 0. The first agreement split the A & P stock
in half, giving the Santa Fe and the S.F. & S.L. equal
holdings. With joint control assured, an agreement was
negotiated between the two parent railroads and their joint
subsidiary. The three agreed to build the western division
of the Santa Fe from Isleta, near Albuquerque, to the Pacific
Ocean. The S.L. & S.F. would provide the eastern terminus
in St. Louis which the Santa Fe then lacked. °^
Work on the junction point, Isleta, was begun in earnest
by the spring of 1880. By the end of 1881, 190 miles of
track had been laid from Isleta to a point 360 miles from the
California border. At that point work stalled because
California financial interests obstructed the building of the
Santa Fe to the west.
The California financial interests were obstructive,
since the "Big-Four" owners of the Central Pacific Railroad
(completed with a trans-continental connection in 1869) had
insufficient business to earn a profit."'
The Central Pacific had built down the then sparsely
settled San Joaquin Valley. The Central Pacific, even after
the company reorganized as the Southern Pacific, built its
track through the Tehachapi Pass to Mohave and Los Angeles. ^ 8
From those places it pushed to Yuma, Arizona, to meet the
Texas & Pacific then building west from the Lone Star State.
To its consternation, it found that the Texas & Pacific's
construction had stalled deep in Texas. As a result, the
management of the Southern Pacific built eastward, beyond
El Paso, before it finally linked with the T & P. The noted
financier, Jay Gould, controlling the T & P, drew up a close
association with the S.P. by a new agreement. With the con-
trol of both a northern and southern route, the S.P. did not
want competition from the A & P. To forestall this dreaded
competition the S.P. obtained seats on the S.L. & S.F. board
of directors. In this position they made so much mischief
that the Santa Fe could not build its line beyond Needles on
the west bank of the Colorado River."" Meanwhile, to beat
the Santa Fe, the S.P. began to build eastward from Mohave.
The S.P. built so quickly that by the close of 18 82 its
tracks stretched beyond Ludlow. At last, on April 19, 1883,
the railroad reached Needles. Because of difficulties in
bridging the Colorado, the actual linking of the tracks of
the S.P. and the Santa Fe did not happen until August,
Since the S.P. and A & P did not cooperate in their
operations, passenger travel from California to Albuquerque
through Needles was light. 71 Finding the situation
intolerable the A & P planned to build its own line to the
Pacific. At this time S.P. management had second thoughts.
Therefore, both railroads signed an agreement to take effect
on October 1, 1884. Under the terms of the agreement the
A & P brought the S.P. track from Mohave to Needles. Then,
for the first time, the A & P operated as a through line. 72
Despite operational problems caused by steep grades, train
wrecks and water problems, the A & P succeeded in reaching
the major California ports by tying various short railroads
together. On May, 1890, the Santa Fe succeeded in winning
control of the S.L. & S.F., which also ended its problems
of ascendency over the A & P. 73
Yet the Santa Fe's troubles were far from over. The
1893 depression forced the Santa Fe and its two satellite
roads, the A & P and the S.L. & S.F. into receivership. 74
After a welter of complicated legal maneuverings, the Santa
Fe acquired the entire western division of the A & P,
including the track from Albuquerque to Needles, in addition
to the leased line of the S.P. between Needles and Mohave.
Also, on the last day of June, 1897, the A & P ceased to
exist and its property returned to the Santa Fe Pacific
Railroad, a subsidiary company of the Santa Fe.75 on July 1,
1902, the operations and title of the former A & P railroad
were transferred to the parent company, the Santa Fe.76
Finally, to tidy up the legal situation, on December 27, 1911
the lease of the Mohave-Needles track was changed, and title
to that property was transferred to the Santa Fe which turned
it over to a subsidiary . 77
The Santa Fe continued to have operating problems. The
railroad bridge over the Colorado proved to be inadequate,
but, with strengthening, lasted until 1945, when it was
replaced by another span. The single-track Mojave Desert
section of the railroad proved inadequate and was gradually
double-tracked, which improvement was not completed until
1923.78 Mining activities in the desert and through inter-
continental traffic finally, in the age of desiel, brought
relative prosperity to the Santa Fe.79
Santa Fe Feeder Lines
The Santa Fe had three feeder lines of interest to this
study. Interestingly, these feeder lines had a symbiotic
relationship with their client mines. The mines made the
railroads financially solvent by carrying the ore from the
mines, which in turn might never have been developed without
The first of three feeder lines of the Santa Fe is the
Amboy-Saltus Railroad. Amboy was a station on the Santa Fe's
main line, an equal distance between Needles and Barstow. It
existed largely because a dry lake, Bristol, containing large
deposits of gypsum and salt, lay to its south and east.
Gypsum is used to make plaster of paris, wallboard and cement.
It can also be employed to dress soil.
As early as 1904 the Pacific Cement Plaster Company
constructed a mill in Amboy. To feed this mill the Pacific
Cement laid a 1% mile long narrow gauge track, mules were the
motive power. In April, 1909, the mining property and
railroad were purchased by the Consolidated Pacific Cement
Plaster Company. About 1913 locomotives were substituted for
mules, and the track relocated. The narrow gauge track was
rebuilt in such a manner that it no longer ran straight south
from Amboy, but rather it passed in a southeasterly direction,
three miles to a new quarry site near Saltus. In 1916, a new
mill was constructed near the middle of the short line, much
closer to the gypsum deposits. The Santa Fe built a spur
from its main line which, in February, 1917, was named Funston
for the then recently deceased military hero, Frederick
Although the original mill at Amboy was closed, the
railroad continued. The railroad acquired a new function,
acting as a commuter train carrying mill workers to and from
their Amboy homes. In September, 1919, the Arden Plaster
Company bought the Amboy properties. Although the track
from Funston to Amboy was abandoned, the remainder of the
line continued. In 1924 Funston and Bristol Lake operations
were closed down. As a result the Funston plant was closed
and the railroad tracks taken up. The tracks were used to
build a l^s mile railway at Midland in Riverside County, where
the Funston plant had been moved. 80
Several companies staked claims to the Bristol Lake
salt. The forerunner of the California Salt Company, the
Capital Salt Company then operated a feeder railroad. Back
in the 1880s Crystal Salt had operated a quarry at Danby
Lake, southeast of Bristol Lake. At that time steam traction
pulled wagonloads of salt to the A & P main line at Danby,
thirty miles away. Most of the output was sent to Calico
mills where it was used to reduce silver ores.
Calico's decline caused Crystal's operations to decrease.
Yet, in 1909, Crystal Salt continued to produce salt, and in
1910 built a mill at Saltus on the Santa Fe main line and
linked it to the lake bed by a narrow gauge railroad. The
operation of this more elaborate property was not a financial
success, and the Consumer's Salt Company took over control
of the facilities. Trying to reach a financially sound basis,
Consumer's Salt built a new plant. In 1921 the facilities
were leased to the California Rock Salt Company and
production increased. In 1927 the California Rock Salt
Company took title to its leased property. In 1950 the
California Rock Salt Company shortened its name to
California Salt Company.
With the coming of the early 1920s workers lived in
sheet-iron shacks — too hot in summer and too cool in winter.
Saddle tank locomotives hauled the small salt cars. In the
late 1920s the last saddle tank locomotive wore out, and
gasoline engines drove the trains.
During World War II a new plant was constructed at
Saltus, causing the relocation of the Santa Fe's spur, as
well as the narrow gauge track. Production grew because
this quarry produced the salt for Basic Magnesium's plant
at Henderson, Nevada. By the 1960s there were four Plymouth
gasoline engines drawing trains of more than 20 cars of
rock salt from quarry to mill over a track length of four
miles. Production remained steady, and by the 1960s over
two million tons of salt had been produced. 81
Ludlow and Southern Railroad Company
Much has been said in this report already about the
Ludlow and Southern Railway in discussing the Rochester
(Buckeye) mining district. It was the second feeder railway
for the Santa Fe.
This railroad was surveyed in May-July, 1902, and then
was built after the contracts were let in July, 1902.
Grading for the track was finished in November, 1902. By
January-February 1903, ties arrived at the site of the
railroad. By April, 1903, second hand rails were furnished
by the Santa Fe. Track laying began in May and was finished
over the lh mile length of the feeder railway.
The railroad was constructed from the Bagdad-Chase mine
to Ludlow. From there gold and copper ore was transported
via the Santa Fe to reduction mills at Bar stow. Much of the
rolling stock equipment of the Ludlow & Southern was second
hand and obtained from the New York Central Railroad, through
the financial ties between the directors of the two
enterprises. Around 1910 the Tonopah & Tidewater (see later
in this report) played a part in the L & S operations. In
1916 when the eminent mining engineer, John Hays Hammond,
withdrew from the Bagdad-Chase operation in favor of
petroleum exploration, development lagged. As a result,
passenger traffic lagged and so the L & S curtailed its
passenger operations, ceasing to be a common carrier.
In the latter part of 1932 while the railroad was
inoperative, a disasterous fire in the engine house at
Rochester damaged the last operative locomotive. As a
result, only a motor car ran over the tracks for some time.
The railroad's tracks were laid in a gully, with the
expectation of an occasional washout. But, in view of the
lack of mining operations in 1932 when nearly a mile of
track was destroyed by flood, it was never replaced. The
entire track was taken up and sent to the Philippines. In
1937 the inoperative locomotives were cut up for scrap; in
1939 the last passenger coach was destroyed by fire. Thus,
it is impossible to assign a definite date for the
railroad's end. 81
The Salt Lake Route (Union Pacific)
Although it was too long and important to be considered
a mere feeder road, the Salt Lake Route needs to be discussed
before the last real feeder, the Tonopah and Tidewater, can
be considered. The importance of the Salt Lake Route is
shown when its passenger service, ended by the formation of
Amtrack, was restored in the fall of 1979. It was the only
passenger service to be started at that time by Amtrack. °2
The Union Pacific had long desired to complete the last
significant gap in inter-continental railroads from Salt
Lake City to Los Angeles. 8 3 Through an amalgamation, a
small subsidiary corporation, the Oregon Short Line, of the
U.P. began to build from Milford, Utah by late 1889. The
work went on throughout most of 1890, but only the grading
and the tunnels were finished. When the track laying
machine began to operate, the precarious financial condition
of the parent corporation forced a halt to construction
activities . 84 Then, because of the Panic of 1893, the Oregon
Short Line was sheared from the Union Pacific and the latter
went into bankruptcy . 85 In 1893, the U.P. emerged from its
financial problems under a strong leader, E. H. Harrigan,
who succeeded in returning the Oregon Short Line to the
control of the Union Pacific. °
Then in 1898 the Utah and Pacific was incorporated.
That railroad announced that it would complete a 75 mile
segment of track from Milford to Uvada, Utah. Then the U.P.
signed an agreement with the Oregon Short Line which
stipulated that the U.P. could use the uncompleted Oregon
Short Line grade in Nevada in exchange for some Utah and
The U.P. began construction in the fall of 1898 and
reached Uvada on the Utah-Nevada border. The U & P
extended service into Nevada by July, 1899. From there the
Oregon Short Line planned to build across the state of
Nevada to California. 87
Then William A. Clark, a copper king, entered the scene.
He wished to construct his own line from Salt Lake City to
Los Angeles. Clark, in August, 1900, bought the California
terminus of his proposed line, the Los Angeles Terminal
Railroad. From the Utah end, he bought a "paper" railroad,
the Utah & California. Clark used it as a vehicle for
building his railroad by expanding its charter to build
outside Utah. 88 i n March, 1901, Clark purchased the Lincoln
County rights to the Old Oregon Short Line grade. Lincoln
County had seized title to the grade because of non-payment
of local taxes. Thereupon, Clark incorporated his own San
Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad to serve as a vehicle
for his Nevada construction. The vital area for railroad
construction was Clover Valley, of which both Harrigan and
Clark had maps to bolster their contentions that each had
correct title. 89 Taking the case to the federal government,
in April, 1901 after a four day hearing, the commissioners
of the U.S. Land Office in Carson City upheld the Clark
claim. 90 Vowing never to be beaten, Harrigan appealed the
case to the General Land Office in Washington and dispatched
a force of workers to continue his possession of the disputed
railroad grade. Clark also sent strong men to defend his
claims. The result was several clashes between the
contending groups. 91
On appeal the General Land Office overruled the Carson
City official's decision and awarded the disputed right-of-
way to Harrigan. ^2 After further hand-to-hand fighting among
the construction crews, a truce was patched up by mid-May,
1901. The issue was then thrown into the courts and while
they deliberated the Clark and Harrigan forces built a vital
passage through Meadow Valley Wash in Nevada. Then, in
September, 1901, both groups suspended work. Construction
was halted for 19 months while negotiations continued behind
the scenes. 93
On July 9, 1902, a compromise agreement was negotiated.
This resulted in a joint Harrigan-Clark ownership of the
Salt Lake route. When construction resumed, the two tycoons
decided not to extend the Salt Lake route to the Southern
Pacific at Banning, California, but instead to connect with
the Santa Fe at Daggett. This decision saved both time and
All during 1904 the construction work proceeded slowly.
Finally, two work crews, one from the north and the other
from the south, joined rails near Jean on the afternoon of
January 30, 1905. Much secondary work remained to be
accomplished, and the railroad did not open for regular
business until May 1, 1905. 95
The Salt Lake Route had hardly been finished when in
the summer of 1905 severe flooding occurred. Then flooding
in 1906 closed the line for three weeks. The year 1907 was
worse. In February a flood wrecked the Meadow Valley Wash
tracks. At the western end of the line, in the Mojave Desert
between Otis and Daggett, the grade was completely washed out.
It was mid-April, 1907 before railroad service was resumed. 96
Then the Meadow Valley track was relaid an average of
four feet higher than before to prevent new flood damage.
On New Year's Eve, 1909, the track in Meadow Valley washed
out again. Service was not reinstated until June, 1910. Nor
did the western end of the line escape damage at that time.
Landslides and washouts occurred at Canyon Pass and Afton.
In Meadow Valley Wash the roadway was rebuilt on safer,
higher ground. 9'
By 1916 the operation was successful and the San Pedro,
Los Angeles & Salt Lake abbreviated its name to Los Angeles
& Salt Lake. In 1921 William A. Clark sold his half interest
to the U.P.98 The U.P. made the route even more financially
successful when a spur line to Boulder Dam was built in 1930-
1931. This spur carried heavy building materials and supplies?^
The Salt Lake route prospered during World War II and
centralized traffic control was introduced in 1942 at Daggett.
This control system was expanded the entire way to Salt Lake
City by 1948.100 The route's passenger traffic was ended in
1971 by Amtrack, but was restored in late October, 1979.
Tonopah & Tidewater
A Santa Fe feeder railroad running during its operation
over the entire north-south length of the study area was the
Tohopah & Tidewater. This railroad tapped the borax region
of California. Borax was more prosaic stuff than gold, but
often proved to be lucrative. 101 This area also probably
contained the famed lost gold mine of Jacob Breyfogle, a
befuddled prospector who could never again find his original
Among the first to mine borax in the region north of the
study area was the one-time San Francisco vigilante, William
Tell Coleman. He developed the Harmony Borax Works, mining
the borax while 20-mule-teams carried the product to the
station of Mohave on the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1888
Coleman sustained financial reverses and his borax properties
were taken over by Francis Marion "Borax" Smith, a veteran
borax extractor. In 18 72 Smith had discovered borax at Teel's
Marsh near Candelaria, Nevada. When Coleman had financial
difficulties, Smith acquired his holdings, the Lila C. Mine
in Death Valley and the mines at Borate. Smith next combined
all his properties to form the Pacific Coast Borax Company.
In 1899 this company became an international corporation
with headquarters in London and became known as Borax
Consolidated, Limited. i03
As the Teel's Marsh ores became exhausted, Smith
concentrated upon his borate holdings. After 1900 the borate
ores also became depleted. As a result, Smith exploited the
most desolate part of the desert to operate the Lila C. Mine,
100 miles from the nearest railroad. The wagon road between
the railroad and the mine was so rough that Smith decided to
build his own railroad. The silver and gold discoveries at
Tonopah in 1900 and Goldf ield in 1902 helped to make up Smith's
mind concerning the need for a railroad in this region.
Eventually, after looking at other routes, Smith decided to
select the old wagon road as the railroads basis. The
important focal point of the railroad to Smith was the Lila
C. Mine, and not the mining centers of Tonopah and Goldf ield,
despite the railroads name.-'-^
In 1905 Smith selected Las Vegas, Nevada, as his
railroad's terminal, since that place was a division point
on Clark's San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad. Work
began on May 29, 1905, and construction crews quickly moved
out for nine miles. Then to his dismay, Smith found that
Clark had changed his mind about cooperating with him. 105
Smith, therefore, decided to build north from Ludlow,
abandoning Las Vegas as a base. The Santa Fe Railroad
proved willing to cooperate with Smith. A construction
workers tent city was built at Ludlow, and work on the grade
northward began. 106
On the new route Smith had to build 16 7 miles to reach
Tonopah and Goldfield instead of the 118 miles that he
originally planned. This longer distance delayed the
building of the railroad. Eventually Smith decided that a
branch line to the Lila C. Mine was enough and that his
railroads main route should run through Goldfield. As a
result, on November 19, 1905, work north from Ludlow
commenced. The track was laid downward on the valley floor
for the next 50 miles to Silver Lake. On the route north
the T & T crossed over the Salt Lake Route at Crucero.
There, as a symbol of their non-cooperation, the railroads
each maintained separate stations, and did not run connecting
trains. 107 From Crucero the T & T laid its track north of
Rasor and then the booming community of Silver Lake by March,
1906. The summers heat slowed construction, and it was
early 1907 before service began on the new railroad. By
May, 1907, regular traffic reached Tecopa. It was ironical,
that when the T & R reached Gold Center near Beatty, it
found that William A. Clark's own feeder railroad, Las Vegas
& Tonopah, had reached the same place a year earlier. The
LV & T then had built on into Goldfield. Complicating the
situation, another enterpreneur , John Brock, had built the
Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad to Beatty, and then on to the
boom towns of Bullfrog and Rhyolite.108
For the time being, therefore, Smith decided the T & T
would not build further north. Instead, with a trackage
agreement with the Bullfrog Goldfield, it operated trains
to Bullfrog and Rhyolite. This was the operating situation
when, with the mining boom at Rhyolite and Bullfrog
slackening, the B G Railroad became insolvent. Therefore,
in June 1908, the B G and the T & T were controlled by a
single holding company, the Tonopah and Tidewater Company. 10 "
For the next six years, until 1914, the combined line
was not prosperous. Branch lines were planned, although
only one. the Tecopa Railroad completed in 1910, was ever
Meanwhile, the T & T Railroad had its own operating
difficulties. Flash floods plagued it. In the spring of
1910, the Mohave River crested at a flood stage, pouring water
into Silver Lake's dry bed and flooding the tracks laid across
it. Although trains at slow speed could creep through the
water, they often sustained flooded firebreaks. To solve the
problem the track had to be raised six inches above the lake
T & T headquarters were maintained in a private car on
a siding at Ludlow. From there the train's superintendent,
Wash Cahill, ran the railroad's operations. 111
The year 1914 saw many changes on the T & T. The Lila
C. Mine became exhausted. It was replaced by the Biddy
McCarty Mine, located 12 miles away from the Lila C. A
branch line was constructed to it. In 1916 it was sold by
the T & T to an independent narrow gauge railroad, the Death
Valley, which then ran from Death Valley Junction to Ryan.
The Death Valley Railroad's independence was largely a
fiction, as its owners were substantially the same as the
T & T. The year 1915 witnessed changes in the B G section
of its line from Beatty to Goldfield related to the mining
situation. Bullfrog and Rhyolite were no longer gold ore
producing, and the Goldfield area had fallen greatly in
production. As a result, the B G - T & T combined railroad
revenues plummeted and the symbiotic relationship between
mines and railroads was again demonstrated. 11 ^ Now since
the B G paralleled William Glark's LV & T from Beatty to
Goldfield, the old rivals agreed that they would form one
new route combining the best portion of each and abandoning
unneeded track. The railroad that emerged was still called
the Bullfrog Goldfield, but it was operated by the LV & T.
The T & T lost its presence in Goldfield, but retained the
short trackage from Gold Center to Beatty. To compensate
for its loss of revenue, T & T opened a 1.3 mile branch line
to the gypsum deposits at Acme. 113
Floods still plagued the T & T. In January, 1916,
heavy rains fell in southern California. Once more Silver
Lake filled with water flooding seven miles of T & T track.
Other points also suffered washouts and it was months before
service was resumed. Then a 7.5 mile line was constructed
along the eastern edge of Silver Lake with salvaged materials
from the abandoned Lila C. spur. In March, 1916, the Silver
Lake station and warehouse collapsed. Consequently, the
depot and the rest of the town were taken up and rebuilt on
the lake's eastern shore adjacent to the new line.H4
When the government through the United States Railroad
Administration forced the LV & T into abandoning its service
as superfluous, this deprived the B G of an operator. In
September, 1918, the T & T put the B G again under its aegis
with a five year operating agreement. 115
About 1919 the Acme branch line was inactivated and in
1927 its tracks were removed to build the Carrara spur.
Around 1920, for a brief period, a light narrow gauge
railroad operated from the Lila C. Mine to Death Valley
Junction. It lasted only a few years as the Lila C.'s
production dropped again. Between 1921 and 1926 the Pacific
Borax built and operated a 2 foot wide narrow gauge railroad
to service their borax operations around Shoshone. This
railroad tied into the T & T some four miles north of that
When the Death Valley Railroad suspended operations in
1931, the T & T widened the defunct company's track and
operated over it. In the late 1920s a revival of marble
quarrying at Carrara occurred. To carry these heavy marble
blocks the T & T took rails from the Acme spur and built a
Carrara sideline. l 1 ^
Since passenger fares were high, few passengers
officially rode the T & T. Passengers usually tipped the
train crew and then were allowed to ride on the coal tender
and the tops of passenger cars. Dining cars were not
warranted by the traffic, so a restaurant was opened to care
for the passengers dining needs at Shoshone. 11 '
By the late twenties the Pacific Coast Borax Company
again shifted its major operations from Death Valley to
Borax near Kramer on the Santa Fe. 118 The first casualty
of this shift was the B G Railroad which closed down in 1828.
Three years later, as already indicated, the Death Valley
Railroad also ceased to operate. lx 9
The effects of the Great Depression ravaged the
struggling T & T. As an economy measure in October, 1933,
operations between Curcero and Ludlow ceased. This move
forced the abandonment of nearly 26 miles of track. The
tracks remained in place for years because of mortgage
requirements, but service never resumed. The train "stops"
at Ludlow were moved up to Death Valley Junction.
In the six years from 1933-1938 the T & T revenues
averaged only l/6th of their previous total during 1920.
Losses approximated a quarter of a million dollars a year.
The road continued running, since Borax Consolidated as
guarantor of the railroad company's land, paid the interest
and when necessary the operating deficit. This arrangement
could not continue indefinitely and so, after heavy damage
by flooding to the railroad in March, 1938, the T & T asked
the Interstate Commerce Commission to allow it to cease
operations. By 1939 it possessed, in addition to passenger
equipment, only 2 9 freight cars and 4 locomotives. After
ICC hearings the railroad was allowed to cease operation on
June 14, 1940. After the United States entered World War
II, the tracks in 1942-1943 were torn up from Beatty to
Ludlow. Its ties and timber were used in nearby construction,
and the railroad equipment was removed as other needs for its
use arose. The complete legal abandonment of the railroad
was authorized by the ICC in 1946. 120
Settlements Within and Around the Study Area
It should always be borne in mind that the entire
population within the about 19,000 square miles comprising
San Bernardino County was merely 5,551 in 1860, 3,988 in
1870, and 7,786 in 1880. As late as 1900, the county's
population had only expanded to 27,929 and 56,706 in 1910.
The county's population only reached 73,401 in 1920, and
finally amounted to 161,000 people only upon the eve of
World War II. 121
To illustrate how lightly populated the study area was,
three geographical subdivisions, townships, comprised it and
much adjacent territory as well in 1940. These townships of
Amboy, Kelso and Ludlow contained 474,316 and 225 persons
respectively; comparable statistics from earlier census
years are not available, 2 although some inferences can be
drawn. In 188 the Mohave precinct of San Bernardino
County, which literally comprised thousands of square miles,
contained 150 people. 123 Beside the San Bernardino Township,
which included the City of San Bernardino, the other
townships into which the county was divided as late as 1900
still possessed the following populations: Hespera Township,
170; Vanderbilt Township, 329; Dale Township, 63, and Victor
Township, 645. 12 ^ This illustrates how lightly populated
the Mojave Desert was generally, and the study area
specifically, has been for most of its history.
The following are some of the more important settled
places in and immediately about the study area, judged from
the standpoint of historical impact.
Originally called Morrison, probably after a railroader,
it was renamed Acme after the Acme Canyon and/or mine. It
served as a station on the Tonopah & Tidewater spur to the
Acme Mine. In 1914, to compensate for the loss of the
Goldfield business, the T & T built the Acme spur from Morrison
(Acme) on the main track eastward past China Ranch, up Willow
Creek ' s north side and then up a canyon to a gypsum mine at
Acme — a distance of 1.3 miles. About 1919 two sons of the
Acme Mine owner were killed in a cave-in and operations there
ground to a halt. The spur, because of lack of business, was
removed in 1927.125 Between 1939-1943 there was a little
mining of talc at Acme. The Acme Mine is located at Section 9,
Township 19N, Range 8E, on the San Bernardino base line and
meridian. Reopened briefly in 1948, the mine permanently
went into production in 1951. In 1952 its output was 5,000
Afton is a tiny hamlet located in Afton Canyon. It was
built as a siding and named when the Salt Lake Route was
constructed in 1904-05. It was probably named after a town
in the eastern United States. Afton was the scene of a well-
publicized accident in 1907 when two railroaders were killed
by a crane while clearing tracks after a flood. In March,
1938, it was the area of a flood which seriously damaged the
railroad. Afton today receives some business from 1-15, which
passes west of it, and from campers at a Bureau of Land
Management campsite. 127
Avawatz (named for the Avawatz Mountains) was a short-
lived post office during its early twentieth century mining
boom. The Cracker jack mining boom nearby having collapsed,
its post office was moved to Avawatz on August 13, 1908.
The Avawatz boom proved to be ephemeral and the post office
closed on December 15, 1910.128
Baker was a station on the T & T which was originally
known as Berry, named after an old desert prospector. Because
there were other places named Berry, the T & T in 1908
renamed the station in honor of its president, R. C. Baker.
Although Baker had only 58 people as recently as the early
1930s, in February, 1933, a paved highway having been built
through the hamlet, its own post office was opened by the
postal department. This post office has been continuously
in operation since that time. Today, situated just off 1-15,
Baker maintains several modern gas stations, motels, and
restaurants which give important service to the freeway
traffic between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. i29
In the early twentieth century, Cracker jack was a boom
tent city, complete with saloons and stores which was located
to the west of the T & T Railroad near Avawatz Pass. An
enterprising merchant of nearby Silver Lake, 0. J. Fisk, ran
a short-lived stage line to it from his home town. A railroad
spur from the T & T was surveyed but never built to this town.
A post office was established on February 26, 1907. On August
13, 1908 postal service was moved to Avawatz. The removal of
the post office graphically signaled the end of the Crackerjack
Crucero was created in 1906 where the feuding T & T and
S.P., LA and S.L. Railroads' rails crossed each other. The
two railroads built separate stations and did not cooperate
with connecting trains. Originally named Epson, in 1910 the
name was changed to the Spanish for crossing — Crucero.
Between April 18, 1911, and June 30, 1917, and again from
November 11, 1922 to May 25, 194 3, the hamlet had a post
office. On the later date the postal facility was moved to
Kelso. The closing of the T & T Railroad reduced the
importance of the locale, but it remains a railroad siding
of the Salt Lake Route. l31
Ludlow has served as a station for the Southern Pacific
Railroad since the 1870s. Ironically it was originally
named for William B. Ludlow, who was the master car repairer
for the Southern Pacific. Reorganizations of railroad
ownership located this station on the Santa Fe line. Since
the Santa Fe was willing to cooperate with a feeder line,
the T & T, that latter railroad used Ludlow as its major
construction camp, and later its operating headquarters.
The T & T abandoned nearly 26 miles of track from Ludlow to
Crucero in 1933. At that time the railroad repair shops
were moved from Ludlow to Death Valley Junction. The post
office at Stagg (Stedman) was moved on September 15, 1926,
and relocated at Ludlow. Ludlow today has some importance
as a service facility for traffic on 1-40. 132
Rasor for many years was the first station north of
Crucero on the T & T Railroad. It was named for the Rasor
brothers who were railroad surveyors. Clarence Rasor had
been particularly active in surveying the T & T route. In
the 1930s Rasor served as a source of water for Baker when
that town grew. Today Rasor is simply a service stop on
Silver Lake was one of the few T & T stations in the
planning unit to have a pre-railroad existence. The town
was situated on the edge of a large, dry lake which provided
its name. In 1906 it was already a sizable desert trading
community, as it was located on the Old Arrowhead Trail and
close to the then flourishing Crackerjack mining camp. It
possessed a general store called the Rose, Heath, Fisk Company,
which reported an annual business of almost $150,000. Also,
O. J. Fisk, one of the partners in the store, ran a stage line
for a short time between Crackerjack and Silver Lake.
In the spring of 1910, as a result of heavy rains, water
rushed into Silver Lake and did not evaporate. The railroad
problem was solved by raising the tracks six inches. The
town was not permanently, adversely affected by this disastor.
Then, in January, 1916, heavy rains again poured down
throughout southern California, and Silver Lake was flooded
agai-n. At that time 7 miles of T & T tracks were under water.
For a time the Silver Lake depot and warehouse, which had
been constructed on stilts, was the only dry building in town,
as the depot had been elevated to a level corresponding to a
freight car's height. However, in March, two months after the
flood, the freight depot and warehouse suddenly collapsed.
As the water evaporated slowly, the T & T was forced to
make a lengthy detour. In the end the railroad built a lh
mile line along the lake's eastern shore. When the line was
relocated, a gasoline tractor dragged the wooden station/
warehouse to a higher elevation along the newly revised
right-of-way. The remainder of the town also relocated on
the new site.
Silver Lake had had an early start since it was located
near Cox's Cut-Off, a heavily used trail during the 1860s.
Silas C. Cox, a San Bernardino-to-Salt Lake freighter,
pioneered this route. The road later obtained prominence
because it was on the Old Arrowhead Trail which ran between
San Bernardino and Utah. This trail was used by wagons in
the nineteenth century, and later it was utilized by motor
cars. In the 1920s, before the paved road through Baker 8
miles to the south, it was considered the best motor link
between southern California and Salt Lake City. That it was
far from ideal is inferred from the fact that, in 1924, Mrs.
Gus Johnson who operated a general store in Silver Lake in
the 1920s and 1930s could, at best, drive her car from the
California coast to Silver Lake in 17 hours. The Old
Arrowhead Trail bears east from Garlic Springs, past Iron
Mountain Mine and lays between Soda Lake and the Avawatz
Mountains. Then, it ran across the northern shore of
normally dry Silver Lake to the town itself. It then crossed
the T & T grade and turned east through Riggs Wash and into
the Hollow Hills.
After the highway (91 and 4 66, earlier than the present
1-15) was built, it looked as if Silver Lake's only future
would be a way station on the soon to be abandoned T & T.
Hundreds of workmen were brought into the area during the
1930s to build the Boulder (Hoover) Dam power transmission
lines to the Southern California region. The town boomed.
It was deserted when, after completing their work, the
Boulder Dam transmission line workers left and the T & T
was abandoned. Silver Lake's post office, which had operated
since March 27, 1907, was moved to Baker in February, 1933.
It had a brief moment of publicity in March, 1938, when its
namesake lake was again flooded, and even fish were reported
in that once "dry" lake. 134
This area is located eight miles south of Ludlow. It
was also at times known as Stagg, Stedman and Rochester. It
began when a railroader, John Suter, in the late nineteenth
century staked a claim to this area which he called, probably
derived from the state of Ohio, the Buckeye Mining District.
By 1900 John Suter had formed his own company and worked the
Bagdad Mine. In 1909 Suter sold out to an organization of
New York financers who formed a new company, the Bagdad
Milling Company, with E. H. Stagg as general manager. The
post office at the main mine was named for him. This post
office operated from February 15, 1902, until the mine's
decline, when it was removed to Ludlow. The settlement at
the foot of the mine sustained a post office called Stedman
from March 28, 1904 to November 30, 1905. Many of the mining
employees who came from New York preferred to call the
settlement, particularly after the post office closed, Camp
The climate was harsh — hot in summer and cold in winter.
It had a short rainy season, but the area was usually parched
and dry. The workmen's houses were "light clapboard" — rather
widely dispersed so as to minimize the danger of fire. Both
liquor and a red-light district were sternly barred. Water
was virtually unobtainable at the site and was carried to it
by the railroad. In 1916 after a change of ownership, the
railroad no longer operated as a common carrier. Nonetheless,
the railroad was used occasionally, as the mines were leased
out until 1932. About then, because of an accidental fire
burning its equipment, coupled with a track washout, the
railroad was unuseable, and its tracks were permanently
removed in 1935.
The mines operated sporadically until 1954, although
the parent company experienced many name changes. As a ghost
town Stedman is the more popular name denominating this locale
probably because there was already another Rochester in the
The first cattle in the study area were probably
transported through the Mohave trails by the Indians after
being stolen from the Spaniards in coastal California. The
Utes and renegade mountain men seem to have utilized the Las
Vegas arm of the Old Spanish Trail for horse and mule
stealing from the Mexicans in Alta, California. More
legitimate traders probably crossed the Mohave on the way
to the Colorado River by way of trails along the Thirty-fifth
Parallel Trail, or the Government Road as it would later be
known. Along the traders way, their livestock were
occasionally captured by the desert Paiutes. These captured
animals were not used as starter stock by the Indians, but
were instead the main dish in an immediate feast.
American exploring parties brought some, but an unknown
number of, livestock with them into the study area. After
1859 herds of livestock were shepherded through the study
area on their way to provision Fort Mohave. These animals
grazed wherever the grass was sufficient. Miners entering
the Mohave area after 1863 had with them mules, horses and,
undoubtedly, cattle for meat and milk. As mining camps were
established there were cows and sheep raised near them to
supply the improvident, happy-go-lucky miners with fresh meat.
Later the temporary army garrisons in and around the
study region during 1866-1868 had small stock herds with them.
Also, Fort Mohave continued to be a magnet, drawing many
horses and cattle from coastal California through the study
area to the Colorado River. 13 °
Ranching in the Mohave between 1860-1900 occurred on a
small scale and where it was environmentally possible,
although by the end of the period, it had been replaced by
a more diversified agriculture. Extensive ranches existed
in places such as the Chemehuevi Valley, west and north of
modern Cima, and in the high country of and near Lanfair
Valley. The railroad, and eventually deep well drilling
equipment, made possible new ranch development in the 1900s. 137
Although printed documentary livestock statistics in
the study area alone are impossible to get for the early years,
they do exist for San Bernardino County as a whole. The
overwhelming number of persons lived in the southwest corner
of the county. So the amount of ranching in the study area,
while considerable for a thinly populated area, still must be
viewed in proportion to its absolute importance.
In 188 0, in all of San Bernardino County, there were 57
working oxen, 2,101 milk cows and 5,361 other cattle. All
the sheep in the county numbered 48,538.138 Twenty years
later, in 1900, San Bernardino County reported 12,4 81 "meat
cattle" and 11,086 sheep. 139 By 1925 San Bernardino County
reported 1,880 sheep and 37,167 cattle in this political
sub-division. 140 Twenty years later in 1945, at the end of
World War II, in more complete returns, San Bernardino
County was listed as having 2,723 farms with 272,300 cattle,
as contrasted with 2,710 farms reporting 237,280 cattle on
the eve of World War II in 1940. In 1940 San Bernardino
County reported 59 farms raising 6,346 sheep, whereas in
1945 it had 46 farms claiming ownership of 14,170 animals .141
By 1969 San Bernardino County stockmen raised 133,004 cattle
on 640 farms and 19,797 sheep on 70 farms. 142
An example of a large livestock operation is the Rock
Spring Land and Cattle Company. Although this company
operated mainly to the east of the study area, it did at
times run cattle there. This company was incorporated in
1894 to raise cattle on a corporate basis, and upon a large
scale. Its headquarters were originally in Pioche, Nevada,
but were later moved to Los Angeles. The company operated
in the southern Nevada and eastern Mohave area of California.
In that era of few competitors and minimal regulations, the
company occasionally grazed into the study area. For 33
years the Rock Springs Land and Cattle Company remained an
important force in Mohave area cattle industry. Then, in
1927, the company was subdivided when one of the original
stockowners died. 143
At the last federal agricultural census in 1974, although
the southwest corner of San Bernardino County predominated in
the ranching of that subdivision, the study area showed
upwards of 40,000 acres in farmland and approximately $1,000,000
derived from selling livestock, poultry, and their products. 144
Homesteading in the Mojave Desert started seriously only
as late as 1912. The earlier real estate boom in coastal
southern California had not reached as far as the desert.
Yet after several years of a wet cycle, homesteads, about
1912, began to appear in the Mojave. Alluvial slopes near
playas and highland valleys were the sites of homesteading
attempts. The land was developed in a spotty fashion, as
homesteaders took possession of only the most likely areas.
Homesteaders in the Mojave favored the Cronese Valley to
the west and Lanfair Valley to the east. Problems, such
as lack of rainfall, floods, and inaccessibility, caused
the tide of dry farmers to recede by 1925, leaving little
to show for all the effort. 145
After the Great Depression of 1929 began in deadly
earnest in California, there was a tide of unemployed persons
from the cities who took over abandoned homesteads and worked
old mining claims. It was only a bare living. Therefore, as
times improved in the 1930s, these desperate attempts were
abandoned and almost all the unemployed in the Mohave Desert
sought jobs in the California cities. 146
The Desert Training Center, or as it became after its
area included lands across the Colorado River — the California-
Arizona Maneuver Area — was created during World War II. Its
headquarters were located at Camp Young near Indio . The
military maneuvers generally took place outside the immediate
study area. Yet, these maneuvers had an important effect on
the region, as many men who had never seen the California
desert learned to live and work in it. 147
Since World War II military installations have been part
of the desert scene. The relative nearness of the Pacific
Theater during World War II initiated the placement of
military installments in the Mojave. Many were discontinued
after that conflict because of worsening world conditions
during the Cold War. Every one of the major services
maintains, or has maintained, a large installation in the
Mojave. On the edges of the study area were the army's Camp
Irwin, and Twenty-Nine Palms Fleet Marine Force, Pacific
Weapons Training area. Camp Irwin since 1970 has been
deactivated by the army, but it is still utilized by the
California National Guard. 148
Military installations need communications, space and
favorable climatic conditions. Another important factor in
military installation location is fast transportation. The
Mohave is served by two trans-continental railroads, the
Santa Fe and Union Pacific, with a third the Southern Pacific
not far away. Eight U.S. highways cut through San Bernardino
County. As early as the 1940s the desert area possessed
some towns where supplies could be obtained and the necessary
civilian labor forces based. Interestingly, only one
community, China Lake-Ridgecrest, represents an inhabited
area started since 1940, although many older communities
such as Victorville and Mohave have gained population because
of military installations. Between the Korean War and the
early 1960s it was estimated that 28,000 military employees
and 10,000 personnel from civilian constructions were
employed in the Mohave.
Military installations need extensive space, since open
tracts are required to test missiles and aircraft, and for
use as gunnery ranges. By the 1960s, l/6th of the Mojave
Desert lay within military bases. Military bases are
located in the main in a favorable climate. In this dry
desert area, supplies and machines can be safely stored
out of doors. This type of climate, where preservation
of machines is favorable, allows an excellent environment
for storage and repair depots. 149
Two cultural-environmental factors have developed in
the twentieth century influencing desert use. These factors
operated successfully before World War II, but have become
particularly important since that time. The first factor
was the growth of Los Angeles as a financial center, and
also as a source of investment capital for all southern
California, including the Mojave.
The other factor was, and remains, the technological
advances made by the United States in the twentieth century.
After 1930 better paved roads and sturdier automobiles
had been developed. These factors brought many changes,
transforming the desert — service stations, roadside cafes
and motels. Deep wells can create oases in the desert where
none naturally existed. Air conditioning has made the hot
desert bearable. Men can live and work in the desert more
easily than ever before. 150
Since World War II the megalopolis of Los Angeles has
sent many thousands of people into the desert to seek
various types of recreation, from bird-watching to the use
of off -road vehicles. This has demanded additional
recreational facilities on public land, as well as
increased regulation of its use by the Bureau of Land
Management and other federal agencies. *-*l
Illustration of petroglyphs from Cady Springs as recorded
by Malcolm Rogers. Rogers recorded this site as M-42 and
indicated that these were "scratched Chemeheuvi petroglyphs."
Records on file at the San Diego Museum of Man. Illustration
by Russell L. Kaldenberg.
1. A. La Vielle Lawbaugh, "Where Turquoise Was Mined by
the Ancients , " Desert Magazine (August, 1951), 1-12;
Chester King and Dennis G. Casebier Background to Histor ic
and Prehistoric Resources of the East Mojave Desert Region
(prepared for Desert Planning Program, Bureau of Land
Management, Riverside, California), 281-282; James T.
Davis, "Trade Routes and Economic Exchange Among the
Indians of California," Ballena Press Publications in
Archaeology, Ethnology and History, No"] 3 (Ramona , CA,
1974), pp. 29^W:
2. Richard F. Pourade, Anza Conquers the Desert ; The Anza
Expeditions from Mexico to California and the Founding
of San Francisco , 1775~ to 1776 (San Diego ; Union-Tribune
Publishing Co., 197177 25-6T7"W. W. Robinson, The Story
of San Bernardino County (Los Angeles, Pioneer Title
Insurance Co., 1958), 7.
3. Ibid . , 91-134; Elliot Coues, trans, and editor, On the
Trail of a Spanish Pioneer; Garces Diary 1775 - 1776,
2 vols, (New York i Francis P. Harper, 1900), I, 244 and
following; Luther A. Ingersoll, Inger soil's Century Annals
of San Bernardino County , 1769 to 1904 , Prefaced with A
Brief History of the State of CaTifornia (Los Ang e 1 e s :
L. A. IngersolIV T^04) , 74-73"; Robinson, The Story of San
Bernardino County, 7-8.
4. George W. Beattie, trans., "Diary of Fr. Joaquin Nuez,
minister of San Gabriel and chaplain of the Expedition
against the Mohave Indians, Begun by Lt . Gabriel Morgan,
November, 1819" in San Bernardino Museum Association
Quarterly II (Winter, 1955) passim .
5. Maurice S. Sullivan, Jedediah Smith : Trader and Trail
Breaker (New York; Press of the Pioneers, Inc., 1936) ,
74-77; Maurice S. Sullivan, The Travels of Jedediah Smith:
A Documentary Outline Including the Jou~rnal~of the Great
American Pathfinder (Santa Ana" Ca. : The Fine Arts Press,
iy34) , 15; George William Beattie and Helen Pruitt Beattie,
Heritage of the Valley : San Bernardino ' s First Century
(Uakland,~Ca. : Biobooks ,~T^51), 22-23; Dale L. Morgan and
Carl I. Wheat, Jedediah Smith and His Maps of the American
West (San Francisco: California Historical~S"ociety^ 1954) ,
63-b6. Revising some older conclusions about Smith's
track is George R. Brooks, The Southwest Expedition of
Jedediah S. Smith: His Personal Account of the Journey to
California , 182b -l827~TGlendale, CXi TTTe"^rt!mr"H7~CTa"rk~"
Company, 197777" 78^&.
6. Sullivan, Jedediah Smith , Trader, 117-123; Sullivan,
Travels of Jede diah S mith , 31-3 - 3; Brooks, ed., Southwest
Expedition of Smit h, 7"2-98; Beattie and Beattie, Heritage
of the Valley , 23; Morgan and Wheat, Maps, 70-72. On
James Ohio Pattie, see his own story, The Personal Narrative
of James Ohio Pattie . It was originally published in
T831, modern edition (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott,
7. Charles Camp, ed. , George C. Yount and His Chronicles of
the Wejrt , comprising Extracts from his Memoirs and from
the Orange~Clark Narrative (Denver: Old West Publishing
Company, I"966) , 85-128; L. R. and A. W. Hafen, eds . ,
Old Spanish Trail (vol. 1 in The Far West and Rockies
Historical Series , 1820-1875 TGlenHale, CA, The Arthur H.
Clark Co. , 1954) 19 and ff. J. J. Hill, "Ewing Young in
the Fur Trade of the Far Southwest, 1822-34," Oregon
Historical Quarterly , XXIV (March, 1923) passim ; Robinson,
The Story of San Bernardino County , 13.
8. Maryellen Vallier Sadovich, "A History of Southern Nevada,"
I, 35-42, typescript in Southern Nevada Museum, Henderson,
NV, 34-42; Eleanor Lawrence Meyer, "The Old Spanish Trail
from Santa Fe to California," (Master's thesis, University
of California, 1930), 27-107. This master thesis was the
basis for an article by Meyer on the same subject.
9. Elizabeth Von Till Warren, "Armijo's Trace Revisited: A
New Interpretation of the Impact of the Antonio Armijo
Route of 1829-1830 on the development of the Old Spanish
Trail (master's thesis, University of Nevada, Las Vegas,
1974) , passim.
10. King and Casebier, East Mo j ave Desert Region , 236-287.
11. Ibid . ; Warren, "Armijo's Trace Revisited," passim .
12. Ralph P. Bieber, ed. , in collaboration with Averam B.
Bender, Exploring Southwestern Trails , 1846-1854, VII
(Glendale, CA, The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1938), 353-383;
Donald Chaput , Francois X. Aubry , Trader , Trailmaker and
Voyageur in the Soutrlwest , 1846-1854 (Glendale, CA, :
The Arthur H. Clark Co. , 1975) , 149-157 .
13. Lieutenant Robert S. Williamson, Report of Expeditions in
California for Railroad Routes to Connect with the Routes
over the~3~5th and 32nd Parallels of North Latitude in
House Document No. 129" , 33rd Cong. , 1st Session (Washing-
ton: Government Printing Office, 1856), passim, but
14. Lieutenant Amiel Weeks .nipple and Lieitenant J, C, Ives,
Report of Explorat ions aTor a Railway Route ( near the
Thirty- F ifth Paralle l of North Latitude ) from the Missis-
sippi River to the "P acific Ocean (Washington: Government
Printing Office, 1856) paisim , especially 119.
15. King and Casebier, East Mo j ave Desert Region , 290.
16. Lewis Burt Lesley, ed. , Uncle Sam' s Camels , the Journal
of May Humphreys Story , Supplemented by the Report 5T
Ellward Fitzgerald Beale (1857-1858) (Cambridge! Harvard
University Press, 1924) , passim ; Edward F. Beale, "Wagon
Road - Fort Smith to Colorado River in 36th Cong. , 1st
Session, House E xecutive Document 42 (serial 1048), passim ,
A map accompanies this document; OHTe B. Faulk, The U.S.
Camel Corps (New York: Oxford U. Press, 1976), IT7-TT57
128-131; Beattie and Beattie, Heritage of the Valley ,
17. Robert M. Utley, Frontiersmen in Blue: The United States
Army and the Indians , 1343-l"5"65 (New York: Macmillan Co. ,
IW7), 16ZTT"Harold D, Langley, ed. , To Utah With the
Dragoons and Glimpses of Life in Arizona and Calif. ,
1858-1859 "TSalt Lake City: University of Utah, 1974), 140.
18. On the nineteenth century American view of the Mohaves and
their culture see Ingersoll, Ingersoll's Century Annals of
San Bernardino County , 84-92. For modern scientific
analysis of the Mohave culture see Sherburne Cook, The
Conflict Between the California Indian and White Civiliza-
tion , (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California
Press, 1976), 193-194 and Ralph L. Beals and Joseph A.
Hester, California Indians : Indian Land Use and Occupancy
in California (New York and London : Garland Publishing,
Tn~c, 1974), I pt.l, 25-26.
19. See footnote 5 on Beattie.
20. On the Utah "war" between the Mormons and the Army see
Langley, To Utah , 6-15. On the Mormons and the Colorado
River Indians see Paul Bailey, Jacob Hamlin : Buckskin
A postle (Los Angeles: Westernlore Press, 1948}"] 181-
133 and Juanita Brooks, The Mountain Meadows Massacre
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press - ] 1962)" 149 fh .
and 150 fn. On the warlike Mohave see Beals and Hester,
California Indians , I, pt. 1. pp. 25-26, and Beattie and
Beattie, Heritage of the Valley , 322-323.
21. Utley, F rontiersmen in Blue, 164-165; Langley To Utah, 140,
143, 152-155; Thomas Edwin Farish, History of A rizon a
(Phoenix, Thomas Edwin Farish, 1915), I, 3227 Beattie and
Beattie, Heritage of the Valley , 322-324.
22. Beattie and Beattie, Heritage of the Valley , 323-324;
Philip J. Avillo, "Fort Mojave; Outpost on the Upper
Colorado, Journal" of Arizona History (Summer, 1970),
23. King and Casebier, East Mojave Desert Region , 295-296,
24. L. Burr Belden, "Forgotten Army Forts of the Mojave,"
Los Angeles: Los Angeles Corral of the Westerners Brand
Book Number 11 (1964), 85-104; Department of Parks and
Recreation, California Inventory of History Resources
(Sacramento: State of California, 1976), 181-183.
25. Los Angeles Star , January 28, 1860; San Bernardino Guardian ,
July 6, 1867; Dennis G. Casebier, Carle tori's' Pah-Ute
Company (Norco, CA; Tales of the Mojave Road Publishing
Co., 1972), 1-49.
26. Beattie and Beattie, Heritage of the Valley , 326.
27. Belden, "Forgotten Army Forts," 94-102, Ingersoll,
Ingersoll 1 s Century Annals of San Bernardino , 155.
28. See as examples of attempts to obtain investor support
for mines in the greater Mojave Desert, see Macedonian
Silver Ledge Company , California (Buffalo : Rockwell, Baker
6c Hill printers, 1865); copy in California Historical
Society and The Piute Company of California and Nevada
(n.p. 1870) an example of a legendary "lost mine" that
sparked interest in mining in San Bernardino County is
that of Thomas "Peg-Leg" Smith, see John Brown, Jr. and
James Boyd, eds. , History of San Bernardino and Riverside
Counties , II (n.p. The Western Historical Association,
1922), II, 648-650).
29. King and Casebier, East Mo j ave Desert Region , 304.
30. Ingersoll, Ingersolls ' Century Annals of San Bernardino ,
161; State of California^ "Mines and Mineral Deposits
of San Bernardino County, California," California Journal
of Mines and Geology IL, nos, 1-2, (January - ApriT^ 1953)
page 101 record pagination.
31. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino," 96-109,
second pagination; Dept. of Parks and Recreation, California
Inventory of Historic Resources , 73.
32. Ingersoll, Inger soil's Century Annals of San Bernardino , 161
33. Anonymous, "Lead-Silver Ore in Avawatz Mountains -
California, Mining and Oil Bulletin (July, 1919), 451-
452, 460; Anonymous "San Bernardino Avawatz Crown Mine,"
California Division of Minerals and Geology, XVII, (1920),
359-360, xerox in possession of the author.
34. Ronald Dean Miller, Mines of the' High' Desert (Glendale,
CA, : Las Siesta Press, 1963) ,TT
35. King and Casebier, East' Mojave' Pes erf Region , 304.
36. William B. Clark, Gold Districts of California , Bulletin
143 (San Francisco: California Division of Mines and
Geology, 1966), 153; State of California, "Mines of San
Bernardino," 70, first pagination.
37. On the Dale district gold mines see State of California,
"Mines of San Bernardino County," 29-61, second pagination
and Miller, Mines of the High Desert , 13-22. On the Weaver
Route see L. Burr Belden, "Pauline Weaver had own Route
to Reach River, "San Bernardino Sun-Telegram , February
12, 1956, p. 24. On a type of desert struck miner of
the southern Mojave see Tom Cover's story, Brown and Boyd,
San Bernardino and Riverside Counties , II, 651-652.
38. State of California "Mines of San Bernardino County," 73,
first pagination; Miller, Mines of the High Desert , 30-31.
39. Clark, Gold Districts of California , Bulletin 193, p. 158;
State of California "Mines of San Bernardino County," 82,
first pagination, 59, second pagination.
40. Clark, Gold Districts of California , Bulletin 193 , p. 161;
State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County,"
41. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County,"
72, first pagination, Clark, Gold Districts of California ,
Bulletin 193, p. 161.
42. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County," 76-
77, first pagination.
43. Clark, Gold Districts of California , Bulletin 193, p. 167.
44. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County," 71,
46. David F. Myrick, Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California -
vol. II, The Southern Roa ds~TBerkeley ? Howell -North BooTcsT
47. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County," 71,
48. Myrick, Railroads , II, 82ft.
49. Ibid . ; State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino
50. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County, 71,
51. Ibid, , 71, first pagination, Myrick," Railroads , II, 835.
52. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County," 71,
first pagination, Myrick, Railroads , II, 835.
53. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County," 71,
55. Myrick/ Railroads , II, 835.
56. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County," 71,
second pagination; Anonymous, "Lead-Silver Ore in Avawatz
Mountains - California," Mining and Oil Bulletin (July,
1914), 451-452, 460; Anonymous, "San Bernardino Avawatz
Crown Mine," California Division of Minerals and Geology,
VII, (1920), 359-360.
57. See end paper "Mineral Production of San Bernardino County,
1880-1950" in State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino
58. Ibid., end papers and 132-192, second pagination.
59. Ibid . , 48, 51; King and Casebier, East Mojave Region , 305-
306. On the mining employment statistics in San Bernardino
see California Statistical Abstract , 1978 , p. 20. On world
impact on mining see W. W. Rostow, The World Economy ;
History & Prospect (Austin: University of Texas Press,
60. Robert R. Russel, Improvement of Co mmunication with t he
Pacifi c Coast as an Issue in American Politics (Cedar
Rapids, 10, Torch Press, 19^8), 282-293. Allan Nevins,
The Eme rg ence of Lincoln (New York: Charles Scribner's
Sons, r950J7~I, 415-429, 440-444. On the debate between
northern and southern senators see the Congressional Globe
35 Congress 2nd Session, Part 1, po. 326, 332, 373-376T -
418, 442, 477-478, 577-578, 602, 607-609, 624, 627.
61. On the Mohave Indian threat and its solution, see Beat tie
and Beattie, Heritage of the Valley , 322-323. On north-
south rivalry and the various railraod routes, see
William H. Goetzmann„ Army Exploration in the American
West , 1803-1863 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959),
253^267; Ward McAffee, California's Railroad Era, 1850-
1911 (San Marino, CA: Golden West Books, 197377~22-27 .
62. On the survey itself see Whipple, "Reports of Explorations
and Surveys." Ill, 119 and Beattie and Beattie, Heritage
of the Valley , 326.
63. William A. Bell, New Tracks in North America (.New York:
Scribner, Walford & Co. , 1870T, passim ; William J. Palmer,
Report of Surveys Across the Continent in 1867-68 on the
Thirty-fifth and Thirty- second Parallels for a Route
Extending the Kansas Pacific Railway to the Pacific at
San Francisco and San Diego (Philadelphia: W. B.
Schelheimer, 1869) , passim ; Beattie and Beattie, Heritage
of the Valley , 326; John S. Fisher, A Builder of the West :
The Life ofGeneral William Jackson "(Caldwell, ID . : Caxton
Printers, Ltd. , 1939), 145.
64. J. M. Guinn, A History of California , and an Extended
History of Los Angeles and Environs (Los Angeles : Historic
Record Company, 1915) l7~2"22; McAffee, California's
Railroad Era , 108; Keith L. Bryant, Jr. , History of the
Atchison , Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (New York: Macmillan
Publishing Co., Inc., 1974), 84; H. Craig Miner, The
St. Louis -San Francisc o Transcontinental Railroad : The
Thirty-fifth Parallel Project , 1853-1890 (Lawrence, Kansas:
University of Kansas Press, T9 1 2 ) , 4T!
65. Guinn, California , I, 222-223. The railroad stalled 361
miles from St. Louis according to Bryant, History of the
Atchinson , Topeka and Santa Fe , 84. On the SL & SF Railroad
see Ibid . , 84-86. On the organization of the St. Louis
and San Francisco Railroad Company, See Miner, the St .
Louis -San Francisco Transcontinental Railroad 94-95; James
Marshall, Santa Fe: The Railroad that Built an Empire
CNew York: Random House, 1945), 15S7~
66. Guinn, California , I, 222; McAffee, Ca lifornia's Railroad
Era, 109, 113; Miner, the St. Lou is -Sa n Francisc o Trans-
continental Railroad , 85; MarsHall, Santa Fe, lGE,
67. McAffee, California's' Railroad Era , 113; Marshall, Santa
68. McAffee California's Railroad Era, 108-109; Stuact Daggett,
Chapter's on the History of the Southern Pacific (New
York: Augustus M. Kelly, 19F6J, 126; Ingersoll, Inger soil' s
Century Annals of San' Bernardino County , 253.
69. Bryant, History of the Atchison ,' Topeka and Santa Fe,
91-92; Miner, The St. Louis - San Francisco Trans continental
Railroad , 130-T3T; Marshall, Santa Fe/ HTTO.
70. Myrick, Railroads II, 769-770; Miner, The St / Louis - San
Francisco Railroad , 138-139; Daggett, SoutnWiT Pacific ,
134; Ingersoll, Ingersoll 's Century Annals of San Bernardino
County , 59.
71. Miner, The St. Louis Transcontinental Railroad, 138-139;
Bryant, History of the Atchison , Topeka and Santa Fe
Railway , 92; MarshaTT7 Santa Fe, ITST
72. Miner, The St. Louis - San Francisco Transcontinental
Railroad , 138-139; Marshall, Santa Fe, 181, Lucius Beebe,
The Central Pacific & The Southern Pacific Railroads
"(Berkeley: Howell-North, 1963), 241, McAffee, California's
Railroad Era , 184-185.
73. Bryant, History of the Atchison , Top eka and Santa Fe
Railway , 156; Myrick, Railroads , II, 7B"8 ; Ingersoll~7
Ingersoll 's Century Annals of San Bernardino County, 261,
74. Bryant, History of the Atchison , Topeka and Santa Fe
Railway , 162; MyrickT ~Railroads , II, 788.
75. Miner, The St. Louis - San Francisco Transcontinental
Railroao r 7~l59T
76. Miner, The St. Louis - San Francisco Transcontinental Railroad , 169.
77. Myrick, Railroads, II, 791.
78. Ibid .
79. Bryant, History of the Atchison , Topeka and Santa Fe
Railway , 263, 28^7 Marshall, Santa Fe, 305-306, 385^395.
80. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County,"
288, first pagination, 180, second pagination; Myrick,
Railroads , II, 835-840.
81. Myrick, Railroads , II, 840-841; State of California, "Mines
of San Bernardino County," 235, 237, first pagination, 186,
82. See the Las Vegas Sun for June and July, 1979,
83. Myrick, Railroads , II, 623.
84. Elbert B. Edwards, 200 Years in Nevada : A Story of
People Who Opened, Explored and Developed the LanH - (Salt
Lake City, Publishers Press, 1978), 236; George Kennan,
E. H. Harr rman : ' A Biography (Freeport, N.Y, : Books for
Libraries Press, 1969)7 I, 344.
85. George Kirk, "A History of the San Pedro, Los Angeles and
Salt Lake Railroad," (Master's thesis, Pomona College,
86. Kennan, Harriman, I, 344; Myrick, Railroads , II, 625.
87. Myrick, Railroads , II, 625.
88. Kirk, "Salt Lake Railroad," 19-24; Kennan, Harriman , I,
89. Kirk, "Salt Lake Railroad," 28.
90. Ibid,, 30.
91. Kennan, Harriman , I, 345; Kirk, "Salt Lake Railroad," 30.
92. Kirk, "Salt Lake Railroad," 31.
93. Kennan, Harriman , I, 346; Myrick, Railroads , II, 642.
94. Kennan, Harriman , I, 346; Myrick, Railroads , II, 643.
95. Kirk, "Salt Lake Railroad," 45-46.
96. Ibid., 54; Myrick, Railroads , II, 647, 660.
97. Myrick, Railroads , II, 660.
98. Ibid . , 662.
99. Ibid .
100. Ibid. 663.
101. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County , "
102. W. Starrs Lee, The Great California Deserts (New York:
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1963), 72-73.
103. Mary Ann 0' Con ley, Upper Mojave" Desert : A Living Legacy
(Detroit: Hurlo Press, 1969), 23-24; Lee, The' Great
California Deserts , 122-124.
104. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County," 221,
first pagination; 0' Conley, Upper Mojave Desert , 42;
Myrick, Railroads , II, 545; L. Burr Belden and Ardis Manly
Walker, S ear les " Take Borax , 1862-1962 (San Bernardino:
Inland Printing & Engraving Co., 1962), 26-35; Carl L.
Randolph/ United' States Borax a nd Chemical" Corporation :
The First One Hundred' Years (New York: Newcomer Society,
105. Kirk, "Salt Lake Railroad," 52.
106. Myrick,' Railroads , II, 547.
107. Ibid. , 547-548.
118. State of California "Mines of San Bernardino County," 220-
221, 223-225, first pagination, 176, second pagination.
119, Myrick, Railroads , II, 591.
Kirk, "Salt Lake Railroad,"
548, 549, 555-556.
, Railroads, II, 557.
121. Census of 1900 , Vol. I, 11 j Census of 1950, Vol. I, 121,
122. Census of 1950 , Vol. I, 125.
123. Census of 1880 , Vol. I, 109.
124. Census of 1900 , Vol. I, 78.
125. Myrick, Railroads , II, 586-591.
126. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County," 199.
127. Myrick, Railroads , II, 660, 673, 675, 765; Evan G. Gudde, ed. ,
California Place' Names : The original' Etymology" of Current
Geographical N ames (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University
of Calif omiaTress, 1969), 4.
128. Walter N, Frickstad, comp. -/ A Century of California Post
Offices , 1348 to 1954 (Oakland! PnTlatelic Research
129. Mryick,' Railroads , II, 548, 591; Frickstad, comp., California
Post Offices , 138; Gudde, ed. , California , Place Names , 19.
130. Frickstad, comp., California Post Offices, 139; Myrick,
Railroads , II, 548; Remi Nadeau, Gho s t Towns and Mining
Camps of California (Los Angeles: Ward Ritchie Press,
131. Frickstad, comp,, California Post Offices , 139; Myrick,
Railroads , II, 547, 548, 600.
132. Frickstad, com., California Post Offices , 143; Myrick,
Railroads , II, 461, 462, 4707~4S'9, 547, 560-561, 585, 591
592, 593, 623, 766, 770, 787, 797, 827, 835, 840; Gudde,
ed. , California Place Names , 186.
133. Myrick, Railroads , II, 546, 548, 567, 591.
134. Ibid ., II, 467, 547, 548; Walter Ford, "Mystery of Silver
Like." The Desert Magazine (July, 1939), II, 23-24,
Nadeau, Mining Camps , 268, Erma Pier son, The Mojave River
and its Valley (Glendale, CA, The Arthur H. Clark Company,
IT70T7 _ 22I5T
135. Frickstad, eomp., Calif ornia Post Offices , 145, 146;
My rick, Railroads ," II, 827-8~34; Nadeau, Mining Camps,
251. See the temperatures in the Bagdad area in Walter
C. Mendenhall, Some Desert Watering' Places in Southeastern
California' and Southwestern Nev ada 7 Water Supply "Paper
224 (Washington*; (TovernmentTrmting Office, 1909),
136. King and Casebier, Eastern Mo j ave Desert Region , 317-318;
Frank Norris and Richard L. Carrico, A History of Land
Use in the California' Desert' Con's er vat 1 on Area IjSan Diego : :
Water Services, Inc., 1978), 25, 29, 37-40.
137. Jural Jeanne Garrison, "An Analysis of the Livelihood
Pattern of the Mojave Desert" (Ph.D. Dissertation in
Geography, University of California, Los Angeles, 1960),
138. Census of 1880 , Volume, Statistics of Agriculture , 144,
139. Census of 1900, Vol. V, Part I, Agriculture , 420, 421.
140. Special Census of 1925 , Agriculture, Volume, Western States,
141. Special Census of 1945 , Agriculture , Volume I, pt. 33,
p. 77. Also see the maps on pages 352 and 353 of Volume II.
142. Special Census of 1969 , Agriculture , Part 48, California,
143. King and Casebier, Eastern Mo j aye Desert Region , 318-
319; Velma Stevens Truett, On the Hoof in Nevada (Los
Angeles: Gehrett-Truett-HoTe, ~T"?50Tr~354c , 375b , 492d.
144. Special Census of 1974, Agriculture , Volume I, part 5,
Plate XVIII, IXX.
145. King and Casebier, Eastern Mo j ave Desert Region , 320-323;
Garrison, "Livelihood Pattern of the Mojave Desert," 147-
148; Norris and Carrico, History of Land Use, 65-66.
146. King and Casebier, Eastern Mo j ave Desert Region , 320-
323; Garrison, "Livelihood Pattern of the Mojave Desert,"
147. Sidney L. Meller, "The Desert Training Center and C-AMA
(Historical Section, U.S. Army Ground Forces, 1946) ,' passim ;
Norris and Carrico, History of Land Use, 98-100,
148. State of California, "I'ines of San Bernardino County,"
52-54; Norris and Carrico, History of Land Use , 100, 116
126; Warren A, Beck and Ynez D. House, Historical Atlas
of California (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,
149. State of California, "Mines of San Bernardino County,"
52-54; King and Casebier, Ea s t ern ' Mo j ave Desert Region ,
326-327; Garrison, "Livelihood Pattern of the Mo j ave
150. David W, Lantis, Rodney Steiner and Arthur E. Karinen,
California' Land of Contrast (Belmont, California: Wads-
worth Publishing Co., 1963) , 51; Garrison, "Livelihood
Pattern of the Mojave Desert," 150-151.
151. Garrison, "Livelihood Pattern of the Mojave Desert,"
150-151; Norris and Carrico, History of Larid^ Us e , 113,
Illustration of "Malpais (?) ceremonial of the boulder-
alignment type." From notes of Malcolm Rogers. Site is
recorded as M-156B, Quail Lake in the Owlshead Planning
Unit. On file at the San Diego Museum of Man. Illustration
copied from Rogers' notes
The southern half of the Owlshead/Amargosa and Mojave
Basin planning unit lies within the ethnographic territory
of the Chemehuevi. As a southern Paiute group, the
Chemehuevi spoke a Numic language and practiced a
subsistence economy based on hunting and gathering. The
environment in which they lived precluded a large
population density and enforced the somewhat nomadic
lifeway of the family level of socio-cultural integration
familiar throughout the Great Basin.
Distribution, Identity and Linguistic Affiliation
Post-historic distribution of the Chemehuevi included
a major portion of the Mojave Desert. Their territory
extended from the Kingston Range south through the
Providence Mountains to the approximate boundary of present
day Riverside and Imperial counties; westward to Newberry
Springs and eastward to the Piute Mountains (Van
Valkenburgh 19 74) . As the southern-most extension of the
Numic linguistic family, the Chemehuevi occupied the lands
between the Yuman and the Takic linguistic groups. The
Kawaiisu, who spoke another Numic language, were located
to the northwest in the area of Searles Lake. The Vanyume
Serrano were centered around Daggett and along the Mojave
River. The Serrano proper occupied the area of the San
Bernardino Mountains with the Cahuilla to the south. The
Mohave were located to the east, principally along the
Evidently the Chemehuevi were friendly with the groups
to the north and west, although there is conflicting
evidence that the Chemehuevi and Serrano may have had
occasional quarrels (Bean and Smith 1978:570 and 572).
The Vanyume along the Mojave River were sparse and poor,
being rapidly decimated around the 1820s and extinct by
1900. They had enjoyed good relations with both the
Chemehuevi and Mohave (Bean and Smith 1978:570).
Some time after 1776, the Halchidhoma and the Kohuana
were driven from the lands west of the Colorado River by
the Mohave and Yuma. The Chemehuevi moved into this area
and maintained a fairly close relationship with the Mohave
until unrest in 186 7. The Chemehuevis in this area then
fled across the desert and settled near Twenty-Nine Palms
with the Serrano and later at Cabezon with the Cahuilla
The Mohaves were the Chemehuevis' closest
neighbors. . .The relationship between the two tribes
was close/ almost symbiotic. Each was to the other
the essential enemy. To the Chemehuevis. . .enemy was
virtually synonymous with Mohave. . .Mohaves ambushed
Chemehuevis and vice-versa. Also they derived great
satisfaction from their mutual contempt. Chemehuevis
were revolted by the place that fish held in the
Mohave diet, and Mohaves were equally disgusted by
"lizard eaters." None of this prevented their
visiting back and forth, intermarrying, and learning
each other's language and songs... They traded
artifacts, and no doubt to a certain extent each
tribe assimilated the skills of the other... Their
enmity was almost (until recent years) without
hatred, at least without deep, bitter and enduring
hatred; it was as though they united in playing
out a stylistic (though deadly) game of war
Other records indicate that the Chemehuevi in the
area of the Providence, Paiute and New York Mountains
were enemies of the Desert Mohave (Laird 1976; Van
Valkenburgh 1974). At any rate, Van Valkenburgh states
that "the post-historic shifts of the Chemehuevi seem to
have emanated in the disturbances of their quarrelsome
Yuman neighbors on the Colorado River" (1974:228).
A Chemehuevi informant delineated a trail which
spanned Chemehuevi territory from the area of Victorville
to Fort Mohave. It was described as follows:
Victorville to Stoddard Wells — to fish ponds
just below Daggett — 6 or 8 or 10 miles — Camp Cady.
Next place at caves — next to Soda Lakes — sinks of
the Mohave River — Soda Lake to 17 Mule Point
(between Soda Lake and Marl Springs) — to Government
Holes. Pass through mountains to Rock Springs. To
Paiute Spring to Bauer Lake to Hardyville to Fort
Mohave (Van Valkenburgh 1974:252).
There were essentially three sub-divisions of the
Chemehuevi proper: The Northerners occupied the land
along the northern reaches of the Colorado River with
the Southerners along the river to the south; those
who occupied the land back from the river to the west
were called Desert Chemehuevi. "Nonetheless, constant
visits back and forth, shared war parties and hunting
expeditions, as well as intermarriage. . .must have made
for considerable tribal homogeneity (Laird 1976:8-9).
The aboriginal population of the Chemehuevi proper was
probably somewhere around 500 to 800 people based on a
reduction of one- to two-thirds of the population at the
last Federal census of 350 people (Manners 1974:27).
Chemehuevi is a dialect of the Yutish sub-family which
stems from the Numic linguistic family of the Shoshonean
languages of the great Utaztekan stock (Goss, 1968:18 and
25) . Its derivation is diagrammed below.
. ' 1
CHEMEHUEVI KAIBAB N. PAITUE S. PAITUE
It has been hypothesized that Ute began to break from
Kawaiisu some 800 to 900 years ago somewhere in the vicinity
of southern California. Ute in turn became linguistically
divergent as the various groups spread into the Great Basin.
Thus, it would appear that the spread of the Yutish speakers
across the Great Basin is a fairly recent event.
Remember, the marked distinctions between the
Southern Paiutes are cultural, not linguistic.
The "Utes" are just the Yutish groups that
happened to reach the Great Plains... The cultural
boundary, which is so sharply drawn by some
ethnographers, between the "Southern Paiutes"
and the "Utes" indicates only the western
boundary of marked Plains influences at the
onset of the reservation period (Goss 1968:35).
The shallow dates between Chemehuevi on the western
extreme and the Utes on the east, seem to indicate
a very recent expansion into the Basin. Perhaps
the easternmost Utes only reached the Plains about
2 or 3 centuries ago, represented by the Northern
Ute-Southern Ute divergence (Goss 1968:27).
Further evidence from Yutish place-names would seem to
support this recent expansion. Sapir suggests that:
The analysis of placenames is frequently a valuable
means of ascertaining whether a people have been
long settled in a particular region or not. The
longer a country has been occupied, the more do
the names of its topographical features and villages
tend to become purely conventional and to lose
what descriptive meaning they originally
In pointing out Sapir's analysis, Goss goes on to state
Almost all Yutish place names are descriptive and
easily translated. The purely conventional place
name is the rarity here. Hence, the inference:
Evidence from the place names indicates recent
expansion of Yutish speakers in the historic
doman (1968:31) .
Goss is further corroborated by Laird (1976:119) as
she points out that Chemehuevi place-names are vividly and
concisely descriptive; even though she further points out
the advantages of descriptiveness in finding one's way
across vast expanses of desert.
Social Organization, Subsistence Economy and Material Culture
The Chemehuevi inhabited a broad expanse of desert
domain. Aboriginal exploitation of arid lands demanded
mobility and prohibited the aggregation of large numbers of
people in any given area. Thus the Chemehuevi followed a
lifeway familar throughout the Great Basin: small, basically
self-sufficient extended family groups, hunting and gathering
for themselves and coming together in communal interests
periodically through the year (Kelly 1934; Steward 1938).
The basic social organization of the Southern Paiute,
to whom the Chemehuevi are related, was predominated by what
Steward (1938:75) called 'family particularism'. The extended
family was the encompassing social unit throughout most of
the year although groups of families would travel, gather and
hunt together where seed crops and game were abundant. The
communal hunting of deer and mountain sheep was an example
of cooperative alliances between families, and winter
residence was usually in small villages of such allied groups.
Allegiance to the village, though, was secondary, and an
individual's behavior and social ties were governed to a
greater extent by kinship and the family group (Steward
At one time, the Chemehuevi may have been divided into
moieties, with one group inheriting the Mountain Sheep
Song and the other, the Deer Song. Ancestry was not
traced to either the mountain sheep or the deer, and no
real totemism accrued. Only certain parts of either
animal were taboo to the man who had killed it and there
was no strict regulation about hunting the animal of
one's inherited song. Other inherited songs of lesser
importance were the Salt Song, the Day Owl Song and the
Quail Song, all of which were probably closely related
to the Deer Song. The Mountain Sheep Song covered by far
the greatest extent of land. It was centered along the
Colorado River and around the area of the Providence,
Ivanpah, New York, and Piute Mountains, but extended
across the Mojave Desert from the Granite Mountains to the
San Bernardino Mountains (Laird 1976) .
The people of different mountain ranges and territories
had different versions of the two dominant songs. The
inheritors of the song were said to 'own' the particular
hunting lands which were associated with the different
versions of the two songs. It does appear, though, "...
that everyone was either a Mountain Sheep or Deer..." and
when they hunted they would "invite outsiders to go along
with them — these outsiders being perhaps visitors from
other tribes or men who had married into the tribe" (Laird
Marriage was exogamous at least between the groups with
different versions of the two dominant songs, although
there is no real evidence of exogamy between the main
divisions of the Mountain Sheep and Deer (Laird 1976:21).
Residence after marriage was usually matrilocal. Steward
(1938:57) points out a strong preference for matrilocal
residence in the southern part of the Owens Valley as well
and states this may have been connected with female
ownership of valley seed plots. Essentially, though,
individual family groups could reside wherever they wished.
In general, residency was governed by availability of seed
crops. Where such foods were abundant several families
would occupy the same locality which resulted in the
formation of small 'bands' of extended families. Each
of these 'bands' had a spokesman but allegiance to him
was based on residence in, and not on inheritance of,
a family's hunting territory (Laird 1976:22).
The spokesman of any large band was a 'high chief and
could preside over assemblies gathered for consultations
concerning various matters. When a 'high chief was deemed
unsatisfactory, he could be replaced with "one who would
act in accordance with tradition and with the will of the
people" (Laird 1976:29).
Groups would come together frequently through the year
at the Gathering, a time of consultation and communal
activity. The annual ceremony of the Cry also contributed
to group cohesion. It was a time for mourning those who
had died the previous year. Usually, belongings of the
dead and certain gifts were burned, after which the names
of the dead were never spoken again (Laird 1976; Steward
The Chemehuevi had a strong sense of the supernatural.
Shamanism was most generally related to healing but could
also involve the willing of disaster and illness as well
as the protection of game animals from 'outsiders*.
Shamanistic power was achieved through dreams and meditation
and involved the help of animal familiars. Both shamanistic
and hereditary songs could be acquired from the sacred cave
and the cave itself was thought of as an entity. Whirlwinds
were thought to be supernatural demons which were disliked
but not feared. A decoction made from Datura was taken to
gain the power to reveal enemies or to find mislaid objects
(Laird 1976) .
The spirits of the dead were thought to travel to the
far north, to a land of abundance and beauty. In life,
an individual's hunting range and relationships were
defined by hereditary songs; after death, by the particular
color of corn which was his (Laird 1976) .
The rites of death were and are sacred and of immense
importance. The funeral was of necessity held
without much preparation, but was followed, perhaps
as long as six months or a year later, by... the Cry
or Mourning Ceremony. .. (For it must be remembered
that the Chemehuevis were great travellers.
Families sometimes travelled alone or in small
groups, and deaths must often have occurred during
these periods of isolation.) At the time of the
funeral, women relatives of the deceased cut their
hair... some property was burned, and there was
ritual singing. Not much more could be done,
considering the short time which must elapse
between death and burial (Laird 1976:41-42).
For the Cry or Mourning Ceremony,
Extensive and elaborate preparations were made.
A date was selected, three months, six months,
or even a year after the funeral. If there had
been several deaths fairly close together, the
bereaved families might choose to cooperate in
providing for a single Mourning Ceremony.
September was often the month chosen because
food would be plentiful at that time... Eagle
feathers braided into bands and also the whole
skins of eagles cured with the feathers on
them were used ceremonially at the Cry... The
Chemehuevis did not catch and keep eagles
when no Mourning Ceremony was in prospect, but
they sometimes bought them from other tribes,
usually the Walapais (or Serrano) who did make
a practice of keeping them. No special ritual
was connected with the killing of eagles (Laird
When the date of the Cry had been set, the knotted
string was sent out... At the Cry the ritual songs
were sung*. .Valuable goods , which had been purchased
by those giving the ceremony were given away... All
possessions of the deceased which had not been
burnt at the time of the funeral were now burnt,
along with other articles belonging to close friends
The Scalp Dance and the Ghost Dance were both known as
the Circle Dance. Both probably served as an emotional
catharsis, with the Scalp Dance being older and the Ghost
Dance a newer innovation. The Ghost Dance probably helped
to alleviate the 'sense of doom 1 which much have come
with historic contact and a time of cultural and social
upheaval. In some instances, the Ghost Dance songs began
to substitute for the hereditary songs of pre-contact
times (Laird 1976:44-45).
Being primarily nomadic hunters and gatherers, and only
incidentally planters, the Chemehuevis never evolved
an organized priesthood. . .elaborate rituals, or
great symbolic seasonal dances. Their principal
cultural carriers were songs and myths, primarly
the latter, although songs were also tremendously
important in this respect .. .Chemehuevi myths
transmitted racial and tribal behavior, and,
through symbols, a highly developed psychology
(Laird 1976:209) .
Chemehuevi origin myth relates to "Ocean Woman"
and tells of the beginning of all tribes as coming from
a basket carried by "Coyote" from an island in the sea.
This myth, and all others, were passed down in the oral
tradition, being told with individual embellishment and
lengthened or shortened to fit the occasion. Winter was
the proper time for storytelling, 'when the snakes were
asleep' (Intertribal Council, 1976; Laird 1976).
The Chemehuevi followed a subsistence economy based
on hunting and gathering and the seasonal round. In the
early spring when winter stores were depleted, the young
beans of the mesquite were gathered and eaten whole while
still young and succulent. The young shoots of various
plants were collected and eaten as grass. Fruits from
the devil's pin cushion and prickly pear cacti were also
exploited. Yucca dates and buds from the Joshua tree
were collected and eaten raw or roasted and could be stored
for short periods of time. Where available, agave was
collected and roasted in pits. As early summer approached,
seeds ripening in the lower valleys could be gathered and
eaten at the time or stored in baskets with potsherd lids
for future use. The more dessicated mesquite beans of the
summer months were gathered and leached in pits for
immediate consumption or cached in elevated granaries.
Both the honey bean and screw bean mesquite were exploited
but the honey bean was preferred. In the late summer, the
people would move to the mountain slopes to gather the
later maturing seeds of the higher elevations (Beals and
Hester 1974; Drucker 1939; Laird 1976; Steward 1938).
Because seeds are small, they must be gathered in
large numbers to be profitable. Where vegetation
is as widely dispersed as in the desert valleys
and mountains, this called for considerable
mobility on the part of the Indians. The radius
of action of a single camp site soon was depleted
because women gathering seeds had to cover a
comparatively large area each day. Therefore,
the family had to move frequently and in the
majority of cases was unable to select spots
near water or other places of convenience. T*he
major requirement in selecting a campsite while
seed gathering was a plentiful seed crop (Beals
and Hester 1974:215-216).
Pinyon pine nuts ripened in the fall and were gathered
with the aid of a fire bent hook on the end of a fifteen
to twenty foot pole. The cones were burned to extract
the nuts which were stored in grass-lined pits in the
vicinity of the winter camp (Steward 1938) . Storage
of the nuts influenced the location of winter residency.
Location of the winter village and the groups comprising
it could thus change from year to year depending on where
people eventually went to gather (Beals and Hester 1974:
Among the Southern Paiute, the annual fall festival
was held just prior to the pine nut harvest. It was
generally a time of communal activity and of pursuing the
social amenities of courtship and marriage. Lasting
three to four days, the festival was terminated with the
Mourning Ceremony (Steward 1938:184).
Among the Chemehuevi, horticulture was an introduced
technique, probably borrowed from the river Yuman tribes.
The principal cultivated crops were wheat, beans, corn,
squash and melons. In the vicinity of the Colorado River
natural flooding of the river supplied good fields and
water. Around springs in the desert, water was carried
to small plots or diverted from its natural flow in
ditches, but irrigation was also a borrowed technique.
Near the river, plots of wheat were planted in the fall
and left through the winter. When the people returned in
the spring, young crops would augment the early spring
diet (Laird 1976; Steward 1938).
Game was relatively scarce in Chemehuevi territory
and successful hunting of the large animals like deer and
mountain sheep probably only came with the advent of the
bow and arrow (Laird 1976:5; Steward 1938). The main
animal foods exploited were rabbits, hares, deer, mountain
sheep, wood rats, mice, quail, chuckwalla and the desert
tortoise (Beals and Hester 1974; Laird 1976). Meat
was roasted or pulverized with the bone and formed into
small cakes. For storage, the fat was removed and strips
were dried. The blood was cooked in a paunch or gut
(Drucker 1939:10; Intertribal Council, 1976). The
procurement of these foods was generally on an individual
basis although communal hunting of deer and mountain
sheep did occur (Laird 1976; Steward 1938). Rabbits and
hares were taken by trap or fire surrounded, and rodents could
be pulled from dens with a stick twisted into the fur
(Steward 193 8) . Evidently, the Chemehuevi found fish
distasteful and there may have been an ancient taboo
against eating them (Laird 1976:46). This is in part
corroborated by the total lack of reference to any
material culture items associated with the taking of fish
Men fashioned caps of animal skin ornamented with quail
feathers for themselves; women made basketry caps. Summer
dress was usually sparse, the women wearing only small
aprons and the men, short breechcloths. In colder weather,
coverings of buckskin and rabbit-skin blankets, fashioned
from furred strips and lashed together, afforded protection.
Basketry was both coiled and twined, and basketry
winnowing and parching trays were prevalent. Pottery
was made with the paddle-and-anvil technique and crushed
rock and sherds were used for temper (Drucker 1939) .
In the preparation of foods, stone mortars, both
bedrock and portable, were employed. Stone pestles were
used with both hands and were not elaborately shaped.
Wooden mortars were also used, particularly in the
preparation of mesquite beans. Metates were rectangular
and unifacial and a back-and-forth motion was used in the
grinding of foods. The Chemehuevi also used a food
stirrer made of three sticks lashed together and ladles
fashioned from tortoise shell and gourds (Drucker 1939:
The Chemehuevi made both a recurved five-foot self-bow
and a three- foot sinew backed bow. Arrows made from cane
had a hardwood foreshaft and were both tipped and untipped.
For small game, untipped arrows of arrowweed or hardwood
were generally used. Pressure retouch on stemmed points and
other tools was done with bone or stone flakers and the use
of a hand protector. Butchering was generally done with an
unhafted tool, although hafted knives were sometimes used.
Bone scrapers and rubbing stones were used to dress skins,
and brains from the animals were rubbed into them to increase
pliability. Awls were most generally made from bone (Drucker
Glue for patching and for cementing such things as
sinew to bows was obtained from several different sources.
It was made by boiling horns from the mountain sheep or
collected as pitch from the pinyon pine. Gum, deposited by
a small insect on the creosote bush, was also collected and
mixed with pulverized rock and heated just prior to use
(Beals and Hester 1974:234).
A sexual division of labor accrued from the fact that
both sexes usually made the items which they used. Women
made the baskets, pots and other implements employed in the
procurement and preparation of vegetable foods. Men
fashioned the tools necessary in the hunting of small and
large game, although women and children also assisted with
the smaller rodents and reptiles. Men usually made the
cordage, leather goods and rabbit skin blankets (Drucker
1939; Laird 1976; Steward 1939).
The Chemehuevi would seek out small caves and
rockshelters for protection from inclement weather. They
would also make brush lean-tos or ramadas for protection
from the sun in summer.
More elaborate dwellings were constructed, particularly
in the area closer to the Colorado River, for winter
residence. These structures were semi-subterranean and
constructed of four medial posts. Numerous peripheral posts
held up an overlayer of brush and grasses, with a vertical
double, sand-filled front wall (Drucker 1939; Laird 1976;
Steward 1938) .
Personal adornment was achieved in various ways. Both
males and females pierced their ears, and some males would
pierce the septum. Tattooing was common, particularly on
the forehead, and females would tattoo vertical lines down
the chin. Non-ritual painting of the body was also common.
Hair was worn long, past the shoulders, and males usually
tied it into numerous 'pencils' down the back. Necklaces
were made from shell beads and pendants traded in from the
coast (Drucker 1939) .
The Chemehuevi were never missionized as were their
neighbors from the San Bernardino Mountains and west. The
terrain would not support large populations, and their
habitual tendency to wander about made it difficult to keep
track of them (Cook 1976:193). Nonetheless, the upheaval
in southern California, which reached its peak in the mid-
1800s, most surely had an affect on them. The general
reduction of the Indian population in southern California
from warfare, disease and forced removal in the 1800s
decimated the aboriginal population. This, coupled with
the 'attack from the rear by white settlers' and the
depletion of aboriginal hunting and gathering territories,
reduced the Indian inhabitants and forced them into a less
favorable environment (Cook 1976:232; Intertribal Council
1976; Steward 1938) .
/X>V V A-'
Petroglyphs from Malcolm Rogers' site M-19 at Francis
Spring. Rogers indicates that the petroglyphs are
located on lava blocks. Illustration copied from
Malcolm Rogers' notes on file at the San Diego Museum
of Man by Russell L. Kaldenberg.
GEOGRAPHICAL AND GEOLOGICAL BACKGROUND
The Mojave Desert is a natural region that occupies a
large part of southeastern California. This natural region
is defined by geographic boundaries identified by Thompson
(1929) . The northwest boundary is the Tehachapi Mountains,
or roughly the Garlock fault. The southwestern boundary
includes a group of ranges, the Sierra Pelona, the San
Gabriel Mountains, and the San Bernardino Mountains, and
roughly coincides with the San Andreas Fault of west Cajon
Pass. Thompson describes the northern boundary at the 35th
parallel from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Colorado
River. The eastern boundary is generally considered to be
the Colorado River.
The topography of the Mojave Desert is typified by low
mountain ranges that separate many undrained alluviated
basins. These ranges have no definite pattern, but in the
eastern and central portion many of them trend north or
northeast. Relief increases eastward as altitudes of the
alluviated valleys increase from 4,000 ft at the western
margin to near sea level at the Colorado River (Dibblee &
Hewett 1970) .
Landform, vegetation and climate comprise the major
elements of the natural landscape. Of the three factors,
climate is considered to be the dominant factor in the
modification of a natural realm. While climate is not
completely independent, it does have a significant effect
on the other factors in the development of a natural
In general, the climatological data for the East Mojave
Planning Unit also characterizes the Amargosa/Mojave Basin
Planning Unit. The area
is characterized by minimal annual precipitation,
low humidity, broad ranges in daily temperatures,
relatively high year-round temperatures, and
occasionally strong seasonal winds. . .Since precipi-
ation and humidity are slight, and temperatures
generally high, the climate is usually classified
as arid or dry. . .However , low moisture levels and
high temperatures do not necessarily define a climate
as arid unless these tendencies can be compared with
the water need of an area... In this case, the water
need may be defined as the amount of moisture needed
to meet evaporation and transpiration requirements.
As the planning unit consists of a region where
little or no water surplus exists in any one
season, the climate can be labeled "arid", since
the region's water deficiency is far larger than
potential evapotranspiration. . . .
Precipitation. . .develops from two main sources
...During the winter, the rain falls primarily
as a result of easterly migrating cyclonic storms
that originate over the Pacific Ocean. . .Locally
heavy convectional precipitation may occur during
the summer as unstable masses of moist tropical
air developed over the Gulf of California, Gulf of
Mexico, and lower Colorado River, enter the region
from the south. High intensity, short-duration
summer downpours (or thunderstorms) occur in the
...region on the order of ten to twenty times a
year, falling most often in July, which may have
as many as six such storms of up to two hours
duration each (King et al . 1976:72-73).
The Mojave Desert in general is classified as an arid
region. It lies in the rain shadow of the Sierra Nevada
Mountains and the coastal ranges of Southern California and
receives less than 6 inches of annual precipitation. The
Mojave Desert receives the largest portion of its annual
precipitation in the winter months — October to March (Bailey
1954) . The rainfall from these winter storms is a major
factor in the geomorphic processes of the desert. It also
is the primary source of water that supplies vegetation
and springs. Fluctuations, therefore, in annual precipitation
have a noticeable effect on the desert.
The average annual temperature in the Mojave Desert
ranges is between 58° F. and 69° F. Seasonal temperatures
can range 50° F. or more from the annual average. Tempera-
tures drop well below freezing in the winter months, and
climb as high as 120° F. or more in summer.
The rocks of the Mojave region can be separated into
two major divisions: a) Pre-Cenozoic rocks, and b) Cenozoic
sedimentary and volcanic rocks. The Pre-Cenozoic rocks are
composed of 1) metamorphic and old sedimentary rocks, and 2)
Pre-Cambrian metamorphic and igneous rocks outcrop
throughout the Mojave, but occur in major outcrops in the
Sacramento Mountains, Old Woman Mountains, and a belt of
mountains that parallel the California/Nevada border,
extending northward to Death Valley. Paleozoic limestones
and dolomites occur in only a few major outcrops, notably
in the Providence Mountains and the Clark Mountains.
Mesozoic igneous rocks, particularly granites and
Tertiary volcanic rocks, are the most common rocks in the
mountains of the Mojave Desert. The rocks of Mesozoic age
are generally coarse crystalline granites, believed to be
emplaced contemporaneously with Sierra Nevada batholiths to
the west. Tertiary volcanic rocks range from basaltic to
rhyolitic in composition. Volcanism began during the Pliocene
and continued into the early Quaternary. Basalt flows at
Amboy Crater have been dated as recently as 6,000 years B.P.
(Parker 1963) .
Erosion has been a continuous process throughout the
Cenozoic, resulting in large sections of Tertiary and
Quaternary sediments. Quaternary lake beds in many of the
valleys contain large deposits of saline minerals. Fossil
pollens and other plant material recording changes in
vegetation and climate are present in many of these sediments.
A major feature of the landscape of the project region
is the pediment slopes, which are considered a geomorphic
stratum in the sampling procedures. In describing the
Quaternary conditions and geological interpretations of the
Great Basin, Morrison (1965) includes this portion of the
Mojave Desert as part of the Great Basin, and reviews the
geological interpretation of these pediments and associated
The basins are partly filled with detritus from
the adjoining mountains. The basin-fill deposits
of the Quaternary age range in thickness from a
few feet to several thousand feet. Gently sloping
alluvial surfaces that are concave basinward border
the mountains. These surfaces are of two types,
which frequently occur in association. Bajada, or
piedmont surfaces, the first type, are formed by
coalescing alluvial fans and are underlain by
relatively thick accumulations of gravelly alluvium
laid down by floods debouching from the mountains.
Pediment surfaces, the second type, are inclined
rock-cut surfaces thinly veneered with gravelly
alluvium. Down-slope, the pediments are overlapped
by piedmont surfaces. Much of the Quaternary
pedimentation took place before the last main climax
of block faulting, and in places the pediments are
displaced by the faults. In general, pediments are
rather narrow in the northern part of the Great
Basin and they become progressively wider to the
The floors of basins that have remained closed
decrease in slope toward the basin interior until
they merge into almost level alluvial plains and
finally in central playas (dry lakes) in the
lowest part of the basin. Progressive alluvia-
tion has raised the floors, so that dissection
and exposure in depth of the basin-fill deposits
are slight. Commonly the upper parts of alluvial
fans are dissected because of altered stream
regimen resulting from climatic change or locally
from uplift by block faulting. Some basins,
however, have become breached and through-going
drainage to lower basins has been established,
and their basin-interior deposits have been
dissected by the throughf lowing stream and its
tributaries (Morrison 1965:267).
The geologic processes which operate in the desert are
not unique to the desert, but some are more or less effective
due to the effects of the arid climate. Some, as faulting or
warping, are independent of climatic conditions. Others, as
weathering and the transportation of weathered material, are
directly influenced by the nature and distribution of
vegetation, which in turn are determined by climate
The breakdown of rocks proceeds by means of mechanical
and chemical processes. Thermal expansion, the freeze-thaw
cycle, and salt crystal growth are the most common processes
of mechanical weathering. In recent years chemical
weathering, particularly crystal hydration, has been recog-
nized as the major factor in the weathering of sound rocks
in the desert.
Crystal hydration is basically an expansion of the
crystal lattice by the addition of water. The expansion of
the constituent crystals breaks the bonds between mineral
grains, and the rock disintegrates into sand and rubble.
"Exfoliation" is a common effect of hydration that results
in sheets of crystals separating from the rock. Hydration
is directly related to the amount of water available. Small
cavities, or unusually porous section of rock, weather at a
faster rate than surrounding rocks to enlarged niches and
Of the mechanical weathering processes, thermal
expansion and contraction, and wedge-work of the freeze
thaw cycle are relatively minor compared to the action of
salt crystal growth. The crystallization of salt, at or
near the surface, has sufficient expansive force to break
the bonds between individual grains of rock. Porous or
fractured rocks, particularly those on or near saline
playas, are rapidly disintegrated by this process. Non-
porous rocks or very dense rocks are generally not affected.
Another process of weathering in the desert, that becomes
important when considering recent changes in land forms, is
desert varnish or patina. Desert varnish is a hard black
coating consisting of oxides of iron and manganese, as well as
fine wind borne clay particles "baked" on the rock surface.
Desert varnish forms very slowly, and indicates areas that
have been stable for long period of time. Blackwelder cites
observations in Egypt that suggest a period of up to 5,000
years to form a light brown finish (1954:14).
Stream and Wind Action
The primary resultant of running water and wind in the
desert is the transportation of weathered material. The
typical desert streams are rare floods which develop quickly
and last only a few hours. These "flash floods" are infrequent
events in which rainfall quickly runs off the barren mountain-
sides to concentrate in pre-existing channels. The run-off
quickly gains a large volume and a high velocity, with great
erosive power. The sediment load is then deposited on
alluvial fans as the water loses velocity and permeates the
porous alluvial gravel.
These floods strip away soil and rubble in their paths,
as there is little or no vegetation to hold it in place. On
steeper slopes running water excavates sharp ravines and
The phenomenon called "sheetwash" is the result of water
from cloudbursts running over alluvial slopes in a "sheet",
during which rain waters may accumulate to a depth of from a
few inches to a few feet. Loose material is churned up from
the ground surface so that the lower slopes become covered
with detritus washed down from the upper alluvial slope.
Related to the lack of a high degree of absorption in the
project area's alluvial slopes, water from the sheetwash
tends to flow down and empty into washes or arroyos . These
distribute the water and debris into the dry lakes of the
area. Certain locales within the project area exhibit
classical examples of this type of removal of surface sands
and gravels which leaves the alluvial slope surface with a
denuded appearance. One such example of the effects of
sheetwash is the slopes of the alluvial fan between the
East and West Cronese Lakes and the western side of the Soda
Mountains (Fenneman 1931) .
The material deposited on alluvial fans and valley
floors is rarely sorted and ranges from clay size particles
to large cobbles. Wind action further separates this
material by carrying off the finer portions, a process
known as deflation. "Desert pavement" is a common result
of deflation where the finer materials have been removed
leaving a surface covered with coarse gravel and cobbles.
Wind action is an effective process in arid regions.
Because vegetation is sparse, the wind can move fine gravel
a few feet above the ground. Sand is carried much higher,
and dust is lifted thousands of feet into the air where it
can be carried long distances. Gravel is often swept into
wind rows on playa surfaces. Sand is accumulated into dunes
which migrate with the prevailing winds or deposit on the
lee side of obstacles, from low shrubs to ridges or gullies.
Two major principles should be kept in mind in the
observation of desert land forms. First, coarse granitic
rocks are highly susceptible to weathering, and therefore
relatively nonresistant . Second, due to the rapid
concentration of runoff and the large amount of debris
available for transport, running water has a major effect
on the development of landforms.
In the Pleistocene, the last period of continental
glaciation in the western hemisphere, the climate of the
Mojave Desert was much different than it is today. The
basins of the Mojave Desert contained extensive inland lakes.
Vegetation at that time period ranged from grassland to
woodland environments, occupied by numerous Pleistocene
mammals (Maps 3, 4, and 5).
The Mojave River formed that master drainage, connecting
several lakes and finally draining north into Lake Manly.
Ancient shorelines and other associated sediments
indicate that these lakes covered tens to hundreds of square
miles, and had depths of over two hundred feet (Blanc and
Cleveland 1961) .
Recent Geologic History
While the Mojave was not directly affected by glacial
ice, glaciation in the Sierra Nevada Mountains along with
world wide glaciation, brought about dramatic climatic
changes within this region. The major drainage systems of
the Mojave Desert are relics of the pluvial systems of the
Four periods of glaciation in the Sierra Nevada
Mountains have been recognized on the basis of soils formed
in the Owens River Valley. In chronological order the four
glacial periods are known as the McGee, Sherwin, Tioga and
Tahoe glaciations. The Tahoe glaciation, the most recent,
ended between 6,000 and 8,000 years ago. During interglacial
phases the climate of the Mojave Desert probably became arid,
similar to the present day conditions.
As a result of increased precipitation, related to the
GEOLOGY: WESTERN U SITED STATES
Map showing maximum expansion of the pluvial lakes and glaciers within
the Great Basin during post-Sangamon time (after Morrison, 1965:266).
to-Death Valley system of pluvial lakes, showing their maximum
during post-Sangamon time, probably contemporaneous with the
glacial maximum (after Morrison, 1965:278).
FH.i iik 1 7-1:1 Late Pleistocene freshwater lakes and
rivers in the Great Basin and Mojave Desert. (California
Division of Mines and Geology, Mineral Information
Service, April, 1961 )
Oakshott, Gordon B. California's Changing Landscapes . New York:
glaciations, lakes developed in most of the basins within
the Mojave Desert. Blanc and Cleveland (1961) describe the
Mojave drainage as it had developed during the Pleistocene.
Evidence of a Pleistocene lake along the Mojave
River was first described by J. P. Buwalda in 1914.
He discovered the well-exposed lake deposits that
crop out along the river canyon near Manix, about
30 miles east of Barstow. To this former lake he
gave the name Manix. Later work revealed that
an arm of Lake Manix occupied the Afton Basin,
where lake sediments, terraces and beach gravels
are preserved. Vertebrate fossils, including
eleven varieties of birds, indicate that the age
of the Manix beds ranges from early to late
Pleistocene. The Manix basin was for a long time
the sump of the Mojave River and contained a large
lake with fluctuating shorelines. At the time of
its maximum extent it covered 200 to 300 square
miles and was about 200 feet deep, but as the climate
changed and the inflow decreased the lake disappeared
leaving a playa. A dry period followed during which
occasional floods regraded slopes to pediments and
small fans were deposited on the lake deposits. With
the return of a more moist climate, a second lake
formed, and a new sequence of lake sediments was
deposited. This lake flowed over its east rim into
Afton Canyon. From Afton Canyon the water discharged
eastward into the Silver-Soda Lake basin southeast
of Death Valley to form ancient Lake Mojave and some
drained northward and filled the Cronese basin and
formed Little Lake Mojave. Well-preserved shore
terraces and gravel bars indicate that Lake Mojave
reached a depth of about 40 feet, then overflowed
northward where its waters joined the Amargosa River
before entering Death Valley. As only a small gorge
was cut in the spillway it seems probable that the
lake overflowed for only a short time, perhaps only
a few centuries. The Mojave River still occasion-
ally reaches Soda Lake and in 1916 Cronese and Silver
Lakes were flooded to a depth of 10 feet. The Lake
Manix spillway was cut down rapidly and eventually
the lake was drained. Continued downcutting deeply
dissected the Manix basin developing a system of
dendritic canyons. Later the river was apparently
dammed again forming a third lake. Much smaller in
size than its predessors, this lake occupied only
the canyons of the Afton Basin. This last lake was
also drained, as indicated by the subsequent
dissection of the basin by the Mojave River. Canyons
nearly 200 feet deeper than the lake bottom now exist
suggesting that pluvial conditons continued after the
last lake drained.
Geologists of the U.S. Geological Survey...
recently have discovered several topographic
benches, sand ridges and some "lake type"
sediments near Crucero on the southern edge
of Soda Lake basin. These features, which
are believed to be of lacustrine origin, are
significant because they occur at elevations
between 955 and 1,111 feet, which is well
above the 946 foot elevation of the Lake
Mojave spillway. If there has been no post
lake deformation of the spillway or of the
lacustrine features it would appear that the
Soda basin was the southern limit of a
continuous lake which extended to the northern
end of Death Valley — a distance of over 150
miles (Blanc and Cleveland 1961:5-6).
The other Pleistocene Lake which relates to the
Southern Owlshead/Amargosa and Mojave Basin Planning Unit
is Lake Manly.
Lake Manly, the pluvial lake in Death Valley,
was recognized by Russell and Gilbert, but was
first accurately mapped by Blackwelder. It
was fed by three separate drainage systems.
The chief contributor was the Owens River-to-
Death Valley system, from which Lake Searles and
Panamint successively overflowed to Lake Manly
only in Tahoe time. In addition, also probably
in Tahoe time, a chain of pluvial lakes
successively overflowed several basins in the
Mohave Desert area and drained into Lake Manly
via the Mohave River. The Amargosa River, which
joins the Mohave River a short distance above
Death Valley, at this time and subsequently
contributed drainage from overflow of three
more pluvial lake basins. At its maximum, Lake
Manly was about 90 miles (145 km) long, 6-11
miles (10-18 km) wide, and nearly 600 ft (183 m)
deep. Blackwelder. . .correlated the maximum with
the Tahoe Glaciation because its deposits and
shore features are almost erased by erosions
The Mojave Basin Drainage Hydrology
While some of the general definitions of this area
have been changed, Rogers' (1939) paper on this region,
utilizing the geological analysis available at that time,
is still as relevant and descriptive today as it was then.
The Mohave is the longest river in the California
desert area, and possesses one of the largest
drainage areas. Although at present time the
lower half of its channel is usually dry, due
to a high evaporation rate, insufficient run-off
and the diversion of water for agricultural
purposes, it often flows as far as its sink after
a heavy storm or a winter of abnormal rainfall, and
creates temporary lakes. In its lower course the
river has cut a deep canyon through the beds of
unconsolidated gravel, sand and clay which mark
the position of the Pleistocene Manix Lake, and
ancient catchment basin of the Mohave. From here
the river gradient drops off rapidly for a distance
of four miles through Cave Canyon (Afton Canyon)
to the margin of the great Mohave Sink depression.
Beginning at the mouth of Cave Canyon the Mohave
has built a great delta of sand and gravel twelve
miles long to the margin of Soda Lake. Judging
from the evidence of well-logs, the delta must
extend even out beneath the Soda Lake playa
surface. On the apex of the deltaic cone the
drainage divides into two channels, one leading
in a northwesterly direction into East Cronise
Lake which overflows into West Cronise Lake when
there is sufficient volume, and the other to Soda
Lake to the east. Here the drainage splits again
into several shallow meandering channels. At the
north end of Soda Lake the flood waters converge
into a single narrow channel, which cuts through
a low gravel divide and flow into Silver Lake.
All four of these catchment-basins have approxi-
mately the same elevation, and together form the
Today the direction of the flow of the Mohave is
delicately balanced at its point of emergence
from Cave Canyon by shifting sand dunes and the
deposition of the alluvial load borne by the
stream. Sometimes the flow is into the Cronise
Lake's sector, sometimes into the Soda and Silver
Lakes area; and when the flow is great as in 1916,
water flows into all four depressions. The flood
of 1916 created lakes ten feet deep in both the
Cronise and Silver Lake basins, which lasted a
year and a half before becoming dessicated by
evaporation and percolation. According to the
available records (official and unofficial) this
condition has prevailed throughout historic times
(Rogers 1939:37) .
Rogers also reported that in 1939 the Mohave River
flooded and brought the East Cronese Lake up to the five
foot level. This type of flooding has been paralleled a
number of times since this date, and in 1978 the five foot
level of water was reached in East Cronese Lake. There
was not sufficient water to overflow into the West Cronese
Lake in appreciable amounts.
Although the present catchment area of the
terminal flow of the Mohave, which in the
aggregate is referred to as the Mohave Sink,
can be considered with a certain exactitude,
insofar as present and near-recent physiographic
relations are concerned, the earlier conditions
with the Sink are far from being clear. Beaches,
wave-cut headlands and tufa deposits indicate
clearly the former presence of two large lakes
within the Sink. For the ancient lake which
covered the Silver Lake depression and most of
the Soda Lake depression, Thompson has suggested
the Mohave Lake, and for the one embracing the
two Cronise Valleys, Little Mohave Lake (Rogers
In an overview of the hydrology from south to north
within the project region, there are nine existing major
catchment basins or playas (Map 3) . Of these, four are
directly related to the Mojave River drainage system, and
these are Soda Lake (ca. 17,280 acres), East (ca. 1,570
acres) and West (ca. 1,570 acres) Cronese Lakes and Silver
Lake (ca. 7,680 acres). There is some geological evidence
that during the Pleistocene epoch the Silver Lake overflow
reached as far north as the unnamed dry lake that is north
of the Silver Lake outlet, Silurian Lake and eventually into
Pleistocene Lake Manly in Death Valley. The Pleistocene
Lake system has already been discussed and this section is
essentially concerned with the relatively recent hydro-
The remaining five playas not involved with the Mojave
River system, include Broadwell Lake (ca. 2,560 acres), an
unnamed dry lake (ca. 640 acres) just south of the Mesquite
Hills, Red Pass Lake (ca. 1,280 acres), the unnamed dry
lake (ca. 1,920 acres) north of Silver Lake, and Silurian
Lake (ca. 1,920 acres), all of which today are internal
Currently in times of sufficient rainfall Broadwell
Lake will have a surface cover of water. The basin is
primarily filled by runoff from the Bristol Mountains to
the east, the Cady Mountains to the west and the Bullion
Mountains to the south. The unnamed dry lake south of the
Mesquite Hills (TUN, R8E, Section 31 and 32) is apparently
filled mainly by runoff from the Bristol Mountains and a
large arroyo system that drains into the dry lake. The
major source of runoff for the Red Pass Lake appears to be
the western slopes of the Avawatz Mountains. The unnamed
lake (T16N, R8E, Section G, 31 and 30) receives the drainage
from the eastern slopes of the Avawatz Mountains. Silurian
Lake is fed by the Silurian Hills in part, the eastern
slope of the Avawatz Mountains and Salt Creek.
While the project region contains these five large
playas of internal drainage, and four playas that are part
of the Mojave River drainage system, there is an almost
complete lack of known springs. There are only four springs
located within the study area. Of these, three have no
recorded archaeological materials present, either because
the springs had been developed historically to such an extent
as to destroy the prehistoric evidence, or that there had
been little to no prehistoric use. The springs include Soda
Springs, Old Mormon Springs, an unnamed spring south of Soda
Springs and a spring called Tomaso Spring that was not
located. A Dante Springs was reported within the area, but
its existence could not be confirmed by the field survey.
This paucity of springs as an integral aspect of the region
would have affected aboriginal prehistoric use patterns.
From the number of historic wells that exist (see page 80 ) ,
there was sub-surface water, but whether it was ever utilized
prehistorically cannot be determined.
As mentioned previously, there is geological evidence of
extensive Pleistocene lakes in the northern part of the study
area. Some of these playas, dependent upon climatic
conditions, have been known to fill in historic time, and
even during the survey water was evident in Silver Lake, East
Cronese Lake, a small amount in West Cronese Lake a*nd some
water in Broadwell Lake. The water in East Cronese Lake is
presently diverted from the Mojave River by a railroad dike,
and during the survey period was filled to its highest
visible strand line.
As a background for understanding the hydrology of the
project area, a spring and well-log is included. This
information was derived from a report by Judyth Reed (1977) ,
"Springs of the Mojave Basin, Amargosa and Bitterwater Area",
that is on file with the BLM, Riverside. The paucity of
natural springs in this region is immediately apparent
through a perusal of the log, and relates to the distribution
and density of archaeological sites.
Petroglyphs from Two Springs
in the Owlsheads on the left, and
from Cave Springs in the Avawatz
Mountains, on the right. After
Rogers field notes. Illustrations
by Russell L. Kaldenberg.
SPRING & WELL LOG*
Old Mormon Spring
T16N/R7E SE/SW of 32
Dry well (dry)
T17N/R8E NE/SE of 32
3/4 miles east of RR grade + BM/102
Red Pass Lake
None - 1 outside unit.
Name -- None
No. /Type — Well
Elevation — 1,000 ft.
Location -- T12N/R8E SW/SE of 15
General Area -- Mile east North end Silver- Lake
No . /Type
- 940 ft.
SE/SW of 30
So. of So,
center sec. 14
East curve of Silver Lake
— Well (dry)
— 900 ft.
— T14N/R8E SE/SE of 13
— Well #1
— 1000 ft.
— T15N/R8E NE of 22
1 mile NE of N end of Silver Lake
-- Windmill - 64' deep.
— Well #2
— 1,000 ft.
— T15N/R8E NE? of 22
-- Near Baker?
* Numbered wells were recorded by Thompson, and Old Mormon Spring
and Cronese Spring by Mendenhall (see Bibliography) .
No . /Type
1 well - dug
T14N/R8E NE of 36
1 mile south west of Baker
September 9, 1917
Jack pump - pumps nearly dry
Thompson, 1929, p. 524 & pi.
Northwest end of Soda Mountains
Water of good quality.
Mendenhall 1909: 55.
Name -- Dante Springs
No. /Type -- 1 spring
Elevation -- Approx. 1120 ft.
Location — Probably T13N/R9E SE of 28 - uncertain,
General Area — On north side of Butte at Northeast end
of Soda Lake.
Source -- Mendenhall 1909: 62.
Soda Lake Quad
Name -- None
No. /Type -- 1 well
Elevation -- 1077 ft.
Location — T11N/R7E NW/SW of 14
General Area -- Approximately 1 mile south of Union Pacific
Name -- None
No. /Type -- 1 well
Elevation -- 1200 ft.
Location — T12N/R7E NE/SU of 36
General Area — North side of Mojave River rash
Name -- None
No. /Type — 1 well
Elevation -- 1000 ft.
Location — T11N/R7E S\"/SVJ of 6
General Area -- Mojave River Uash
Name - - None
No. /Type — 1 spring - alkali
Elevation -- 1100 ft.
Location — T12N/R8E NE/NE of 22
General Area — 1 mile Southeast of Soda Mountains,
Soda Lake Quad (continued)
3 springs Calkali)
East side of Soda Mountains, west shore of
Limestone? Water highly mineralized,
especially sodium chloride. Poor for
irrigation. Can be used for drinking if
necessary. Water 75°F.
Thompson, 1929, p. 130 & 529.
Devil's Well #1
\\ miles South of Soda Lake.
103-ft. drilled well, limestone.
Water 78%°F. Possibly same well Thompson
calls Soda Station Well #1.
Thompson, 1929, p. 130 & 524.
Devil's Well #2
T12N/R8E NE/NE of 35
Approximately \ mile South of Devil's
39-ft. drilled well, limestone.
Water 73^°F. Possibly same well Thompson
calls Soda Station Well #1.
Thompson, 1929, p. 130 & 524.
T12N/R8E NW/NE of 4
Between East shore of Soda Lake and West
side of Little Cowhole Mountain.
Name -- None
No/Type — 1 well
Elevation — 900 ft.
Location — T12N/R9E NW/SE of 4
General Area -- Approximately \ mile East of Soda Lake,
Name — Mesquite Spring
No/Type — 1 spring
Elevation — 1200 ft.
Location — T11N/R7E SE/SE of 25
General Area — Northwest tip of Mesquite Hills.
Soda Lake Quad (continued)
Name -- Mesquite Spring (continued)
Additional — Ganite? Thompson reported no flow. Water
56°F. Water very highly mineralized. Very
bad, if not unfit for domestic use.
Several people were reported ill after drinking,
Poor for irrigation.
Source -- Thompson, 1929, p. 131, 528.
Name -- None
No/Type -- 1 spring
Elevation -- 1080 ft.
Location -- T11N/R7E SE/SE of 25
General Area -- North side of Vest end of Mesquite Hills,
1/3 mile East of Mesquite Spring.
Water much like Mesquite Spring.
Source -- Thompson, 1929, p. 131, 529.
Name -- Epsom Spring
No /Type -- 1 spring
Elevation -- 1487 ft.
Location -- T11N/R8E NE/SW of 21 (?)
General Area -- South of Soda Lake. Alluvium, water 62°F.
Source -- Thompson, 1929, p. 131, 529.
Name - - None
No/Type -- 1 windmill
Elevation — 940 ft.
Location -- T13N/R8E SE/NE of 12
General Area -- East Shore of North tip of Soda Lake.
Name -- None
No/Type -- 1 windmill
Elevation -- 960 ft.
Location -- T21N/R9E SE/NW of 22
General Area -- East Shore of Southern end of Soda Lake.
The following wells are numbered according to Thompson, 1929,
pp. 224-25, & pi. 28.
1 well - drilled
T13N/R8E West % of 1
North end of Soda Lake,
1 well - drilled
T13N/R8E SE? of 1
North end of Soda Lake
Soda Lake Quad (continued)
1 well -
West shore of Soda
at 25 ft.
1 well - drilled
West shore of Soda Lake
September 9, 1917
December 7, 1919
A third well at this place is partly clogged,
1 well - dug
T12N/R8E SW of 27
2 miles SW of Soda Lake.
December 7, 1919
24 X 55 ft. in area.
Name — Well #13
No/Type — 1 well - drilled
Elevation -- 1080 ft.
Location -- T11N/R7E NW of 11
General Area -- Mo-jave River Wash
Depth -- 143.2 ft.
Measured -- December 12, 1919
Additional -- Best water in area (Thompson)
Name -- Well #14
No/Type — 1 well - drilled
Elevation -- 1080 ft.
Location -- T11N/R7E SE of 11
General Area -- Mojave River Wash
Depth -- 99 ft.
Measured -- December 5, 1919
oda Lake Quad (continued)
1 well - drilled
T11N/R7E NE of 14
Mojave River Wash, along Union Pacific RR,
December 15, 1919
1 well - drilled
T11N/R7E NW of 14
Mojave River Wash, along Union Pacific RR,
U.S. Water Supply paper #224, p. 524 & pi
1 well, dug and drilled
T11N/R7E NE of 14
Moia.ve River Wash, just East of Union Pacific RR,
December 12, 1919
Thompson, 1929, p. 524 & pi. 128.
T11N/R7E NE of 24
Mojave River Wash, 2 miles North of Mesquite
Thompson, 1929, p. 524 & plate 28.
1 well - drilled
T11N/R8E SW of 6
Moj.ave River Wash
Thompson, 1929, p. 524 & plate 28.
1 well - drilled
T11N/R8E NW of 7
Moj.ave River Wash
74 ft. Originally 81 ft. deep.
December 7, 1919
Thompson, 1929, p. 524 & plate 28.
Soda Lake Quad (continued)
1 well - drilled
T11N/R8E m-7 of 7
Mojave River Vash
December 7, 1919
Thompson, 1929, p.
525 & plate 28.
1 well - drilled
T11N/R8E NE of 7
Mojave River Wash
December 7, 1919
Thompson, 1929, p.
525 & plate 28.
1 well - drilled
T11N/R8E SE of 7
Mojave River Wash,
\ mile North of Union
December 16, 1919
Thompson, 1929, p.
525 & plate 28.
1 well - drilled
T11N/R8E NW of 9
Moj ave River Wash
December 6, 1919
Thompson, Geological Water Supply Paper,
p. 525 & plate 28.
1 well - dug
T11N/R8E SE of 8
Mojave River Wash
December 6, 1919
Thompson, 1929, p.
525 & plate 28.
Soda Lake Quad (continued)
1 well - drilled
T11N/R8E SW of 8
Moj ave River Wash, \ mile East of Crucero.
December 6, 1919
Thompson, 1929, p. 525 & plate 28.
1 well - drilled
T11N/R8E SW of 9
Mo nave River Wash
December 6, 1919
Thompson, 1929, p. 525 & plate 28.
1 well - drilled
T11N/R8E SW of 10
Moj ave River Wash
Thompson, 1929, p. 525 & plate 28.
1 well - dug
T11N/R8E NE(?) of 17(?)
Moj ave River Wash, North end of Crucero Hill
December 6, 1919
Thompson, 1929, p. 525 & plate 28.
1 well - drilled
T11N/R8E NE of 18
December 7, 1919
Thompson, 1929, p. 525 & plate 28.
Soda Lake Quad (continued)
1 well - drilled
T11N/R8E NE of 18(?)
Thompson, 1929, p. 525 & plate 28.
1 well - drilled
T11N/R8E NW of 19
Moj.ave River Wash, 1 mile East of Crucero
December 2, 1919
Thompson, 1929, p. 525 & plate 28.
1 well - dug
T11N/R8E NE(?) of 29(?)
Southwest tip of Crucero Hill
December 9, 1919
Water slightly salty. Well is 100 yards
North of rock hills.
Thompson, 1929, p. 525 & plate 28.
1 well - drilled
T11N/R7E NW of 33
2 miles East of Cave Mountain
December 3, 1919
Thompson, 1929, p. 525 and plate 28
1 well - drilled
T11N/R6E SE of 18
Thompson, 1929, p
525 and plate 28.
Bitter Spr. (outside unit)
T13N/R5E SW/SW of 10
Approx. 1 mile West of Military boundary,
T12N/R6E NE/SW of 3
North tip of West Crone se Lake
SE/SE of 18
SW of 17
East end of East Cronese Lake.
Name — Well #36
Elevation -- 1080 ft.
Location — T12N/R7E NE of 19
General Area -- SE shore of East Cronese Lake,
SE of 20
Approx. 1 mile SE of East Cronese Lake
T12N/R7E NW of 30
Cronese Lake halfway between East Cronese
& Cave Mt.
SE of 20
mile SE of East Cronese Lake,
SW of 20
mile South of East Cronese Lake,
T12N/R7E SW of 29
NE tip Cave Mt.
Cave Mt. (continued)
T12N/R7E SE of 29
\ mile East of NE tip of Cave Mt
T12N/R7E NW of 32
\ mile SE of NE tip of Cave Mt.
mi n 5 .
T12N/R7E SW of 28
2 miles East of Cave Mt.
Name - - None
Elevation -- 1577 ft.
Location — T11N/R5E SW/NE of 15
General Area -- Mojave River Wash at Dunn,
Name - - None
No/Type -- Well
Elevation -- 1570 ft.
Location -- T11N/R5E NE/SE of 10
General Area -- Mojave River Wash at Dunn,
SW/SW of 11
Mojave River Wash at Dunn.
— 1600 ft.
— T11N/R5E NE/NE of 14
-- Mojave River Wash at Dunn, 2 miles West
Name -- None
No/Type — Well
Elevation -- 1086 ft.
Location — T12N/R6E SE/NE of 4
General Area -- 1 mile NW of West Cronese Lake,
Name -- Cronese Spring
Elevation -- ?
General Area -- SE end of Cronese Dry Lake + SW base of Soda
2 springs are outside area,
T10N/R5E NW/NW of 32
SE edge of Dry Lake.
T9N/R5E SW/NW of 32
2 miles N of ATSF RR line
Name - - None
No/Type -- Windmill (well?)
Elevation -- 2000 ft.
Location -- T10N/R5E SE/SW of 1
General Area -- \ mile North of ATSF RR line
Name - - None
No/Type — Well (aband.)
Elevation -- 1298 ft.
Location — T9N/R7E SW/NE of 13
General Area -- Approx. \ mile North of North shore of
Broadwell Lake near Broadwell.
Name -- None
No/Type -- Well (aband.)
Elevation -- 1298 ft.
Location -- T8N/R8E NW/SW of 5
General Area -- South tip of Broadwell Lake.
Name - - None
No/Type — Tank
Elevation -- 2800 ft.
Location -- T10N/R8E SW/NE of 36
General Area -- Approx. 2 miles NW of Broadwell Mesa.
T7N/R8E SW/SW of 33
1 mile South of Ragtown,
Photograph of Bitter Springs looking towards the west and Red
Pass Lake. Photo taken by Russell L. Kaldenberg, June 1979.
BIOTA OF THE AMARGOSA BASIN-MOJAVE DESERT
The biota of the Amargosa Basin-Mojave Desert is
classified predominately as Lower Sonoran life zone. Both
plants and animals observed during the survey are typically
found in the Mojave Desert below 4,000 ft elevation.
Saltbush, dune, and spring riparians form ecotonal mosaics
within this desert scrub vegetation type. Floral and
faunal data was interpreted for 96% of the study units.
Floral observations included both annual and perennial
species. Faunal recordings included both actual sightings
and indications of animals through rodent holes or scota-
logical evidence. Plant growth and animal populations are
regulated by hydrologic patterns throughout the year and
aboriginal adaptation was intricately linked to this
seasonality of the ecosystem which usually yielded low
population densities. The ethnographically known mobility
of these desert peoples does indicate that higher elevations
were used for food procurement, spring utilization and
escaping the summer heat. As Laird (1978:104) states
"...the Chemehuevis were most familiar with the plant life
of high and low deserts, but these wide-ranging people were
also well acquainted with whatever grew in the mountains
and foothills, around streams and waterholes, and in the
Vegetational analysis lists creosote as the dominant,
or co-dominant, species. Creosote was reported in over 89%
of the transect units surveyed. Burro weed or bursage is
listed as the second major occurring plant. In the lower
elevations, on the playas, the alkalai sink riparian
typifies the vegetation type; Salt Bush, iodine bush and
seep weed are the major plants in the subcommunity.
Approximately 20% of the units surveyed lie in this salt
In the Mojave Basin region typified by sand dunes,
mesquite trees dominate the environment. Other plants
usually associated with these areas include rice grass and
evening primrose. Numerous annuals were noted through the
study area and often formed the highest frequencies for a
particular unit. Many composites, including brittle bush,
cheese bush and goldenray coupled with Indian millet and
Indian rice grass composed the bulk of these annual plants.
Annuals may have been noted in unusually high frequencies
due to the high amounts of precipitation during the
1977-1978 winter. Remnant populations of yucca occur at the
higher elevations of the study area, but no concentrations
were observed in any of the units surveyed. Some typically
high elevational plants such as Apache plume or the lime-
green joint fir were noted in wash or cliff riparians, but
again formed a small percentage of the overall vegetation
Faunal observations recorded by survey crews resulted
in high frequencies of black ants, grasshoppers, song
birds, and rodent holes. Lizards and jack rabbits were
also commonly noted. Ground squirrels, red ants, beetles,
and cottontail rabbits were in evidence, but not in
abundance. Isolated or rare sightings of horned lizards,
coyotes, rattlesnakes, pack rats, an owl, and a few desert
tortoise completed the faunal listings. Animals that may
occur in the study area but were not noted include deer,
mountain sheep, chuckwallas, pocket mice, worms and larva.
Aboriginal populations exploited the fauna throughout the
year. Food, clothing and ornamentation were procured from
various animals either by trapping, hunting or communal
The following comprise various uses of plants and
animals by the many cultures that lived in the Mojave Desert
The Mojave Desert provides a wide variety of utilizable
plants available throughout the year to various cultures in
ethnohistoric and prehistoric times. Comron plants known
for their abundance, palatability or medicinal value include
mesquite, Indian rice grass, pickleweed, evening primrose,
beavertail, cholla, barrel cactus, creosote, desert lily,
various sunflowers and Morman tea.
One of the most important edible plants to many desert
cultures was the mesquite tree. The Cahuilla Indians
heavily utilized mesquite pods for gruel, unleavened cakes,
or drinks (Bean 1972) . The mesquite meal could be stored
for long periods of time in baskets or granaries. Castetter
and Bell (1951) mention that the Lower Colorado River groups
used large granary baskets five to six feet across and four
to five feet high. The value of mesquite is further
evidenced among these people by the fact that there was
ownership of the groves by certain sibs or groups. The
actual owning group among the Cahuilla for a grove was the
lineage, although individual families within the lineage
owned particular trees. A final indication of the importance
of mesquite to the Cahuilla was the naming of the seasons
based on the phenology of the plant. Eight different stages
or period were recognized by the Cahuilla (Bean 1972) . The
Chemehuevi, like many other groups in the Mojave Desert, also
valued mesquite beans. The seed of the mesquite was prepared
for eating by parching the bean by shaking them in a basket
with hot coals (Laird 1976) . Although Laird does not
elaborate to the use of the screwbean mesquite, the names of
both the plant and the fruit are given indicating a
relationship to the Chemehuevi. Among the tribes on the
Colorado and Gila Rivers mesquite and screwbean pods
constituted the chief source of wild food (Castetter and
Bell 1951) . In sum, mesquite was one of the most important
plants for its religious and social functions which related
directly to its gastronomical value.
Indian rice grass was prepared similarly to mesquite.
The seeds were ground to make a mush or eaten raw. The
abundance of rice grass coupled with its availability
throughout much of the year made the plant an important
support food to many aboriginal desert cultures. Castetter
and Bell (1951) report that the seeds from four identified
grasses were utilized by all the tribes on the Lower
Salt bush and Quail bush are other plants that when
ground into flour could be stored for long periods of time.
The nutlets, or fruit, are available throughout much of the
year. In many of the units surveyed during the study Salt
bush was the dominant species. Usually found in areas of
high alkalinity, these plants produce an abundance of
carbohydrate energy for many months of the year . Among the
Colorado River tribes Quail bush and Salt bush were both
collected in November, pounded and winnowed several times
before being made into a mush. The Quail bush was prepared
by pit-baking, parched and ground on a metate and made into
gruel (Castetter and Bell 1951) .
Various cacti were used by many southwest and Great
Basin cultures and were available throughout the year in
the Mojave Desert. Laird (1976) reports that the new
branch just budding out from the Cholla is edible and has
a jelly-like texture when cooked. According to Castetter
and Bell (1951) the desert Maricopa utilized particularly
the pit-baked sourish flower buds of Opuntia gathered in
May. The stems or pods of cholla, beavertail, prickly
pear, and barrel cacti were boiled and eaten as a vegetable.
The Mohave, Cocopa, and Maricopa utilized both prickly pear
and cholla. Fruits, or "tunas" were rolled on the ground
to remove the spines and eaten raw (Castetter and Bell
1951) . The seeds of the cactus fruit, although very hard,
were also eaten, and have high amounts of protein (Felger
Pickleweed and iodine bush, two more phreatophytes,
are also available throughout the year in the Mojave Desert.
The small black seeds of iodine bush were gathered in
December by the Mohave, Yuma, and Maricopa after frost and
prepared and utilized in the customary manner for seeds
(Castetter and Bell 1951) . The succulent stems of these
two plants were gathered and used either raw in salads,
or boiled in soups and stews. The abundance of these two
plants added variety to the aboriginal diet.
Numerous annual sunflowers (family — Compositae) occur
in high frequencies in the Mojave Desert, dependent on the
rainfall during the winter months. The abundant seeds from
plants such as brittle bush, desert sunflower, common
sunflower, sunray, paper flower, and brikellia were ground
on a metate to make a storable flour. On the lower
Colorado, the Mohave gathered the seeds from wild sunflowers,
winnowed, parched and ground them into a meal and ate them
as pinole. Four Mohave informants reported that some
families planted sunflower seeds much like corn. Little
attention was given to the seeds, for they grew rapidly
(Castetter and Bell 1951) . The nutritious seeds of the
sunflower contain as much as 43% protein and 54% oil (Bean
Many plants were utilized for medicinal purposes, but
only a few have any pharmacological basis for theraputics.
Of particular interest is Ephedra , Mormon tea or joint fir.
Aboriginals reported the value of the plant in curing
coughs and colds. C. K. Chang, Indiana University,
isolated the active compound, ephedrine, from Ma-hu-ong,
the Chinese equivalent of Mormon tea. Ephedrine is now
used as the active ingredient of antihistamines. Creosote
bush, sometimes called greasewood, was and is one of the
great medicinal plants of the Chemehuevi (Laird 1976) . It
is classified as a substance which ordinary folk apply to
themselves or to others. Creosote was considered an almost
universal panacea. The leaves were made into a tea for
bowel problems and consumption. A gum was obtained from
the bark and applied to wounds and sores (Mead 1972). The
gum was also used as a sealant for pottery vessels, and was
mentioned in one of the Chemehuevi myths as an adhesive
(Laird 1976) .
Other plants observed during the survey were also used
as food, medicine and for construction. Only those plants
that were recorded within survey transects were chosen for
inclusion in this section of the Inventory Report. Most
desert cultures in aboriginal North America utilized in
excess of one hundred species for various purposes. The
variable food plants available coupled with protein from
animal sources made for a healthy and nutritional diet.
The following plants constitute those species observed
and recorded in the transects during the survey.
Beaver tail cactus
Jumping cholla cactus
Prince 1 s plume
Ajo desert lily
Desert spiny herb
Desert wash willow
Cotton top cactus
Eriogonum inf latum
Eriogonum def lexum
Astragalus spp .
Prosopis julif lora and
Cucurbita spp .
Aster spp .
Large vertebrates used by the aboriginals for food and
clothing included deer, antelope and mountain sheep found
at the higher elevations during the summer, migrating to
lower elevations during the winter. The meat and blood
from these animals was eaten, the hides were used for
clothing and the bones were split for their nutritional
marrow. In many instances bone was also used for tools
and ornamentation. Similar to most hunting and gathering
societies the aboriginal groups of the Mohave Desert shared
the food supplies within the entire group.
Reptiles were hunted by throwing stones or clubs at
them. Hooked sticks were employed to pull lizards and other
animals from crevices or cracks in the rocks. According to
Fowler and Fowler (1971) lizards were captured in great
numbers, strung together and allowed to dry. After
dehydration the animals were ground into flour and stored.
Similarly to other desert cultures, it is considered
doubtful that the bones or entrails were removed before
preparation. Snakes were utilized in the same way, but to
a lesser degree. The desert tortoise was also prized for
its food and the quality of its meat. Roasting pits from
southern Nevada contain pieces of tortoise shell indicating
food preparation practices.
Small mammals including ground squirrels, pack rats,
jack rabbits and cottontail rabbits were hunted with hooked
sticks, collected in communal drives, or gathered
individually with clubs or stones. Snares or deadfalls
were often employed to capture smaller animals. Usually,
smaller animals were ground in bedrock mortars or metates
without removing the bones or entrails.
Various avifauna, including the presently hunted quail
and mourning dove, were observed in the study area. Other
birds noted were ravens, magpies, sparrows and finches.
Many of the hunting techniques used for small mammals were
employed for birds. Dawn and dusk were considered as the
principle hunting times, when the birds were drinking at
Fowler and Fowler (1971) have described the importance
of invertebrates in the aboriginal diet. Grasshoppers,
earthworms, larva and grubs were considered delicacies, and
actual insect drives utilizing brooms or the pounding of
sticks were conducted to collect this valuable food source.
It should be observed that invertebrate protein uses twice
as much water as carbohydrate foods. For this reason,
Noy-Meir (1974) states that, in general, the diet of
hunter-gatherers in arid zones is 60-80% vegetarian.
Traditionally the protohistoric people of the Mojave
Basin-Amargosa Sink have been thought of as little more
than savages eeking out a tentative existence in a harsh
environment. People have believed that large amounts of
time were given to hunting and gathering activities and
little effort was spent on art, religion or social organi-
zation. Manners (1959, 1974) felt that a low population
density and a large territory made tribal and national
integration impossible. Apparently an inverse
relationship between tribal area and leisure activity
compared to rainfall exists. Birdsell (1953) has noted
in desert area in Australia, tribal territories are larger
and have more people, even though population density is low.
Richard Lee (1976) has demonstrated that the Kung! Bushmen
of the Kalahari Desert, and hunting and gathering peoples
in general, have much more leisure time than was once
Flexibility, ostracism and other cultural practices
were employed to maintain the groups stability. The
nomadic bands of the Mojave Desert utilized a multiple
resource existence and biotic conservation practices to
establish large territories with scattered groups, maintaining
a harmonious lifestyle.
Photographs of aboriginal and historic petroglyphs at Cave Springs
in the Avawatz Mountains. Photos by Judyth E. Reed, July 1980.
During all three stages of this project the transects
selected, both randomly in Stages 1 and 2 and with
specificity in Stage 3, for confirmation of the geomorphic
strata predictability were more accessible than had been
expected. This accessibility is related to several factors
1) the extensive use of the areas for ORV activities, which
has created roads into many previously inaccessible locales,
2) the numerous mining areas within the project transects,
with their access roads; 3) several powerlines which criss-
cross this section of the California Desert, with their
access roads; and 4) the old and new railroad berms with
access roads which cut across the project area east to west
and north to south. Through utilization of these various
means of access the field crews could generally drive the
trucks within a half mile of the selected transect with no
difficulty. Following the BLM regulations and stipulations
trucks were used only on existing vehicular pathways and no
cross-country driving was permitted. The five transects
located where access roads were unavailable were surveyed
by employing a helicopter to reach the transects.
To determine the precise location and orientation of
each transect various means were utilized by the individual
crews. These methods included triangulation with either a
walking or a Brunton compass, pacing from a known area to
a corner of the transect, the use of a vehicle odometer,
geological landforms and U.S.G.S. section markers. After
the transect corner was determined, one crew member walked
in 27 paces from this corner, and the other crew member
walked an additional 55 paces beyond the first crew member.
They then proceeded to walk to the opposite end of the
transect, maintaining the same distance from each other
throughout the length of the transect. After this was
completed, the first crew member walked to join the second
crew member, and then proceeded 55 paces beyond him, while
the second crew member walked a total of 110 paces from the
original line of survey. Then both field crew members
returned towards the line from which they started,
paralleling each other as they had done on their first
walking of that transect. In this manner the crew members
were able to walk while visually examining the transect for
any cultural manifestations. When anything was observed,
the crew member would walk over to inspect a possible
historic or prehistoric site situation, so that deviations
from the parallel walking procedures occurred.
On the average, each transect would take between one
and a half to two hours for the two crew members to walk
in this fashion, depending on the terrain and the number of
sites that were being recorded. It was not uncommon for the
procedure of walking a transect to take longer than the two
hour span. During the walking of each transect, notes were
made as to the flora, fauna, and geomorphology of the area.
On the completion of each transect, the appropriate BLM
records were filled out with regard to transect, site and
historic site forms. Historic site forms and site forms
were only filled out if a historic or prehistoric site had
been encountered during the survey of that transect.
Transect forms were filled out by the field crew for each
transect surveyed when the transect walking was completed.
Each transect was photographed and, if sites were
encountered within a transect, then each site was also
photographed. All photographs were logged in on a
photographic recording form.
The transect forms are entitled the Archaeological
Sample Unit Record, and include precise legal location,
general location, vegetation, fauna, geology/geomorphology ,
hydrology, weather conditions, sites if recorded, duration
of survey and survey crew members. In addition to a sketch
map of the sample unit, a general interpretation and
comment section is an integral part of each transect record.
Information concerning the entire transect was recorded on
this form, more precise data related to any sites
encountered were recorded on the site and historic site
forms. On these latter forms information as to the
environment which was recorded on the transect forms was
also repeated on the site and historic forms in a more
specific manner. This data, and all observations as to
the site encountered within the transect, associated
materials, size of site, depth, features, site situation
and comments, were placed on these site recording forms.
Various members of the field crew maintained their own
field journals during the survey, which they usually wrote
up at the end of the field day. In these were noted
details that were supplemental to the recording formats,
but which could be utilized in preparing the final report
at the end of the project.
On the first day of field work the COAR met with the
crews in the field near ZZYZX, worked with them closely,
and demonstrated how the locations of the transects were
to be determined, how to record the data on the transect,
site and historic site forms, and the procedures through
which each transect was to be surveyed. Each of the survey
crew was present at that time and learned these procedures
which were followed during the entire field portion of the
Through an agreement with the COAR provisions were made
in the contract to utilize a helicopter for transects
situated in areas which were of difficult access. These
transects, five in number, were located in mountainous terrain
with no direct access roads. In part, the use of the
helicopter was experimental to test the feasibility of this
method of transporting field crews to conduct survey in
difficult terrain. In addition, during the flights, aerial
photographs were taken of the East and West Cronese Lakes
and the Mohave Sink.
The method devised for utilizing the helicopter was
related to the basis for charges, as there were no costs
for time spent on the ground. Flight time was planned so
that a maximum number of transects could be covered with
the amount of money allotted, which also included the flying
time from the North Las Vegas Airport to ZZYZX and return.
To accomplish this a two-man crew was flown to the most
distant transect and deposited, the pilot having to return
empty to pick up a second crew, as the craft only held three
people. The second two-man crew was taken to the next
transect, after which the pilot returned to pickup the third
two-man crew to take them to the next nearest transect to
ZZYZX. By this time, the first crew at the most distant
transect was finished with their transect and could be
picked up and deposited at the fourth transect. This
procedure was followed with the second crew, so that the
five difficult of access transects were finished.
The five transects surveyed by this procedure were
AM-19, T16N, R6E, Section 27, situated in the Avawatz
Mountains; MB-516, T12N, R8E, Section 4, situated in the
Soda Mountains; AM-24 3, T15N, R6E, Section 36, situated in
the southern end of the Avawatz Mountains; MB-914, T10N,
R5E, Section 24, situated in the western half of the Cady
Mountains; and MB-971, T10N, R7E, Section 31, situated in
the eastern half of the Cady Mountains.
While flying over the East and West Cronese Lakes and
the Mojave Sink, previously located and recorded sites were
clearly visible. Some of these were sites recorded by
Malcolm Rogers, and others were those that had been recorded
by the field crew during their survey of transects for this
project. The helicopter, despite the expense, proved to be
a useful tool in the field and served as an integral part
of the field work for this project.
Private Lands Within the Project Area
A total of 36 transects (listed on page 103), or
portions thereof, were located on private lands. The whole
Amount of Land
Red Pass Lake
NE% Sec. Private h tram
in private land (Silver
1/3 sec. (west trans,
not in private lands)
\H trans, private h
trans in private land
1/8 of trans, private
1/8 mi long
1/3 private out of
h sec. private, h
1/8 of sec. private
section was private for 29 of these transects, but for 7
only parts of the transects were located on private land.
Eight of the 36 transects were on land parcels assigned to
the California State School System. Some of the remainder
were railroad owned lands and others were owned by private
individuals for use in either ranching or mining. With one
exception, no attempt was made to contact land owners,
since the areas where the transects were located were
completely undeveloped and relatively remote. The one
exception was the transect located at Stedman where the
modern mining operation is situated, and permission was
verbally requested and granted for survey within the area.
In no area where individuals encountered who denied access
to a transect that was in process of being surveyed.
Occasional prospectors or miners were met, but in no
instance were these individuals the owners of the land
Selection of Transects
In the BLM contract the Statement of Work delineates
the minimum number of transects to be walked during the
survey. The total study area contains approximately one
million acres and of this 1%, or about 10,880 acres, was
to be surveyed. Each transect was designed by the BLM to
be one-eighthmile wide by one mile long, and for the study
area at least 136 transects of this size were necessary to
total the required acreage to be inventoried. According
to the BLM contract, transects were to be selected by a
procedure based on a random stratified sampling method.
Prior to the initial reconnaissance or field work the
project director submitted to the COAR the environmental,
or cultural, parameters for the strata selected. The
parameters proposed originally were derived from U.S.G.S.
topographic maps, but did not concur with those that had
been previously utilized in other inventories within the
BLM California Desert region. Consequently, after a
meeting with the COAR, the proposed strata were modified
and the following six geomorphic strata were utilized:
Mountain/Hill, Pediment/ Arroyo, Playa, Sand Dune, Mojave
Sink, and Lava Flow. Position of the transect, north-south
or east-west, was chosen randomly in Stages 1 and 2, but
in relation to the terrain in Stage 3.
The survey of the transects was divided into three
phases: Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3. To obtain a
labeling system for the transects, all sections within the
project area were numbered sequentially, beginning in the
northwest corner of the southern half of the Owlshead/
Amargosa Planning Unit and ending in the southeast corner
of the Mojave Basin Planning Unit. Those transects
within the Owlshead/ Amargosa portion of the project area
were given the prefix AM, and those in the Mojave Basin
portion the prefix MB. Sites were labeled alphabetically
within each transect, as MB-1404, Site A. Unworked single
prehistoric flakes were also given a letter designation by
some crew members, so that in the Site Description part of
the report, the sites discussed within a transect may not
follow in alphabetical sequence. This would mean simply
that a crew member assigned a letter designation to an
unworked prehistoric flake during the field survey of a
A transect was considered within one of the six
geomorphic strata if the major portions of that transect
occur within the stratum on the basis of an examination of
the U.S.G.S. topographic maps. Transects are classified by
the assigned stratum in all discussions of the transect
distribution. Within any particular transect there may
occur more than one of the six geomorphic strata, even
though the transect is labeled pediment/arroyo, since the
bulk of that transect falls within this stratum it can
also contain sand dunes and perhaps playa. When a single
site locale is under discussion, or listed in the chart
showing the distribution of sites by geomorphological locale,
the precise geomorphic stratum in which that site is located
is the one specified. Although a site may be in a pediment/
arroyo stratum transect, it may also be situated in a dunes
locale within that transect, and be designated as a dune
site in the site distribution discussion.
In Stage 1 of the survey the transects were selected
in a completely random manner, and the six geomorphic strata
were imposed on these random transects after the selection
processes had been completed. The theoretical concept for
the 30% random sampling selection for Stage 1 is explained
in detail in Section 6 (page 108). The Stage 2 transects
are considered pragmatically random since the selection
process was in part derived from the results of the Stage 1
field survey, and in part related to the attempt to insure
that the aims of the Desert Planning Staff of obtaining a
1% sample of the area were met (see Section 6, page 115 ff.)
for details of the Stage 2 selection process) . Where it was
observed that some areas had not been sufficiently explored
through the Stage 1 selection process (overlaps for Map Key)
transects within these sub-areas were selected through
reference to the random numbers tables (Rand Corporation
1955) , and random numbers were chosen until a transect fell
within the sub-area. The distribution of the transects by
stratum was still randomly based, although none of the
transects chosen for either Stage 1 or Stage 2, also 30%
of the total transects to be surveyed, fell within the
Dune Geomorphic Stratum. Sites are located in dunes as
delineated in the discussion on geomorphic locale (Table 8
and 9) .
Only in Stage 3 was the selection of transects nonrandom.
Stage 3 transects were placed according to the results of M.
Miller's statistical procedures, derived from the predicability
of site occurrence within the geomorphic strata during Stages
1 and 2. Forty-two transects were surveyed during Stage 1,
44 transects during Stage 2, and 62 transects in Stage 3,
totalling 148 transects walked during the project.
A total of five transects were altered during the course
of the field work. The first transect to be altered was
Sample Unit AM-391 (Stage 2) , located in a terrain with slope
inclines up to 75°. On the basis of the ruggedness of this
terrain it was decided to change the transect to another
transect, Sample Unit AM-392, one mile to the east. The
second sample unit that was changed, Sample Unit MB-629,
Stage 3, was exchanged for Sample Unit MB-570, about 3 miles
to the north-northeast. Unit MB-570 is in an area that had
not been surveyed previously, and Stage 3 of the Sample Design
was intended to "concentrate on areas expected to yield data
based on prior information" (Section 6 page 120). Unit MB-629
was situated close to transects completed during the prior
stages, and at this period of the survey, Stage 3, certain
areas were felt to need additional transects to insure
sufficient sampling data. Another factor concerned the
heavy disturbance by ORV vehicles of the terrain of the area
where Unit MB-629 is located. Sample Unit AM-1303, Stage 3,
located in the Bristol Mountains was changed because of the
steepness and ruggedness of the terrain. Sample Unit MB-1534
was substituted as it fulfilled the same areal requirement.
The fourth sample unit to be exchanged was Unit MB-1425,
Stage 1. Transect MB-1404 was substituted since Unit MB-1425
spans two modern railroad berms that are in process of being
extensively altered, resulting in a complete destruction of
a major portion of the transect. Transect MB-1404 is about
one mile west and one mile north of the original sample unit.
After the process of selecting transects randomly for
Stage 1, M. Miller suggested that some alternate transects
be randomly selected so that should problems arise during
the field survey, and a particular transect could not be
walked, there would be available to crews alternative
randomly selected transects. This enabled the field crews
to utilize their field time most effectively without having
to return to contact the statistician. Sample Unit MB-1511,
Stage 1, was one of these alternative transects and was
listed but never utilized, since there were a sufficient
number of transects in each stage to fulfill the probability
requirements for the sampling design when Stages 1 and 2
Petroglyph from Lava Point in
the Mojave Basin Planning Unit
SAMPLE DESIGN, STAGES 1, 11, AND 111
OBJECTIVES OF THE STAGE 1 SAMPLE DESIGN
The prime objectives of the Mojave Basin, Owlshead/
Amargosa cultural resources inventory are:
1. to provide a representative sample of the area
2. to intensively survey this sample area
3. based upon data and observation accumulated
during this survey, to generate a predictive model
of land use (both prehistoric and historic) on
which to base further management decisions affecting
the cultural resources of the study area.
Because of the small sample afforded (1%) and the large
areal population to be covered (1 million acres) the major
problem will be in assuring that any sample selected is
representative, and therefore valid for making inferences
about the population:
...precision of results depends on two factors — the
inherent variability of the basic units and the
size of the investigation. The more homogeneous
the basic units, or the larger the size of the
investigation, the more precise the results are
likely to be (Chakravarti, Laha and Roy 1967:4-5).
One representativeness is established, there should be
little trouble in formulating a model based on traditional
This section was submitted and the author unavailable
for making changes, prior to compilation of the whole
manuscript. Consequently, when the Dune Geomorphic Stratum
was deleted there was no way to alter this particular section.
Also, other modifications in the archaeological interpretation
of sites or finds that were made subsequent to the completion
of this section could not be incorporated into the body of its
text or its tables changed appropriately. This section is
relevant, however, to the manuscript as a whole, and is
included because it describes the theoretical basis for the
sampling design for each of the three stages of the project.
In this instance, we have not only a highly heterogeneous
study area, but a limited investigation as well. Rather than
"putting all our eggs in one basket", a multi-stage sample
design was elected. In this way different sample types can be
selected and tested in the hopes of arriving at comparable
results through different means. Because of the choice of
three or more stages a "concensus" can be reached which will
aid in illuminating differences between yielded results if
concurrence is not attained. In addition, this should also
provide a measure of utility for the various sampling designs
used in circumstances approximating these.
Stage 1 Sample Design
The Stage 1 sample design provides a base-line for
further sampling. The Stage 1 sample is a simple random
sample consisting of 42 transects of the projected 136
transects needed to fulfill the 1% goal. Approximately one-
third (30%) of the 1% sample will be the simple random
The sample size of 30% was chosen with an aim to
gathering enough information on which to base the Stage 11
design, yet leaving an adequate amount for the follow-up
The 30% random sample will provide:
a) Familiarity with the terrain and logistical
b) Information without prior bias on geomorphic and
ecological determinants. This information will be analyzed
at the end of Stage 1 in order to derive strata for use in
Stage 11, as well as give some measure of utility to the
stratification of the sample.
Briefly, the sample was implement as follows:
1. The unit for determining the location of a transect was
the section. A sample of randomly chosen sections was
picked from which transects would be likewise randomly
selected. There are two apparent benefits in such a
a. because of the larger units involved (section vs.
80 acre transect) ; ease of selection.
b. possible minimizing of a "random clustering effect".
(With a small sample size, even randomly selected
units tend to give the appearance of clustering. By
using an initial unit equal in size to eight transects
although the sections may tend to cluster, because of
the element of size, the transects will not tend to
cluster to such a degree) .
2. Sections were chosen for inclusion into the planning
units on the basis of extent within the planning unit
boundaries. Any section with greater than, or equal
to, 50% of its area within the planning unit was
considered to be wholly within the unit.
3. Sections were arbitrarily numbered North to South and
West to East from 1 to N (N being the maximum number
of sections - 1504).
4. 42 sections were randomly selected using the Rand
Corporation tables (A Million Random Digits with
1,000,000 Normal Deviates, 1955). Selection was made
with replacement sections available (in the chosen
sections, however, there was no overlay, possibly due
to the large pool of possible sections and the small
proportion actually chosen) .
5. Another set of 42 random numbers, this time from 1 to
16, was chosen to designate the actual transect within
the section. Transects 1-8 run North-South, while
transects 9-16 run West-East. In this fashion, there
is no bias as to the orientation of the transect or
its location within the section.
In order to ascertain the geomorphic heterogeneity of
the population, each transect upon selection was designated
by the geomorphic unit that 50% or more of the transect
encompassed. This results in the following distribution:
Examination of the maps for the area appear to bear out
this distribution as being relatively valid. The potential
error is in the smaller units such as Lava or Dune
(possibly under-represented or over-represented) . Approxi-
mately half of the study area appears to be alluvial fan-
pediment, while another third is mountainous-hilly.
The Stage 1 sample aids in establishing to what extent
geomorphology determines the site presence/absence and type.
If geomorphology is not a major determinant, or of minor
importance, equal frequencies would be expected regardless
of geomorphic type. However, if, as is hypothesized based
on previous studies in the Great Basin and elsewhere (i.e.
see Davis, Elston, and Townsend 1974; Adams 1972),
geomorphology is a distinct and to some extent quantifiable
determinant, significant variation among site yields of
varying units should obtain. Such being the case, it should
be possible to assign probabilities to the yield of each
The purpose of the Stage 1 sample is to assign
probabilities to these geomorphic units in terms of site
potential. With this data we can then take other samples
of varying types and continue to refine and test the validity
of sample probabilities in terms of prediction.
Table 2 presents a breakdown of section, transect and
geomorphic assignment with sites located (type and
additional comment) .
Table 3 presents a contingency table of geomorphic units
by site types yielded.
Petroglyph from Two Springs in the Owlshead Mountains, as
reported by Malcolm Rogers. Illustration by Russell L.
Kaldenberg after Rogers' notes for M-74, on file at the
San Diego Museum of Man.
SECTION NUMBER TRANSECT NUMBER GEOMORPHIC UNIT
11 2 V
19 15 M
44 5 V
62 5 V
132 2 V
135 1 V
165 15 P
220 7 V
243 1 M
250 16 V
308 11 M
311 5 P
421 2 P
494 15 P
516 9 M
561 16 M
579 1 V
631A 7 MS
637 3 D
693 11 MS
779 4 MS
902 13 V
903 14 V
908 10 V
914 2 M
971 11 M
1028 5 M
1032 14 M
1048 12 V
1112 3 V
1180 14 V
1181 7 V
1205 15 M
1206 7 M
1225 5 L
1296 1 V
1309 7 V
1348 8 V
1350 11 V
1372 3 M
1404 16 V
1517 2 V
Mountain/ Hi 11
PI ay a
Stage 1 Results and Inferences
Table 3A presents the percentage yield results of
sites found by Geomorphic Unit (labeled site %) , the
percentage of area each surveyed geomorphic unit comprised
(labeled Geomorphic) and a ratio of yield which was
calculated as Site %/Geomorphic %.
On the assumption that there is no preference, or at
least significant preference, in favor of one geomorphic
unit over another, we would expect relatively equal
frequencies (scaled by sample size) in each of the units to
obtain. While this assumption is considered invalid by
most archaeologists ( substantial portion of the literature
is devoted to positive correlation between geomorphology
and site location) , for this area we have no real estimates
of the strength of relation between geomorphology and site
presence or absence. The Stage 1 results indicate that not
only do geomorphic units serve as a determinant of site
location, but also that this degree of determinism can be
quantified to some extent.
Mountain/Hill territory amounted to 29% of all the area
surveyed, yet these regions only contributed 15% of all the
sites, approximately one-half of the amount of sites that
would be expected given equal probabilities for all geomor-
Pediment/arroyo comprised 50% of all territory surveyed
and accounted for 48% of all sites found. In this case,
ratio is approximately .96. Pediment/arroyo yielded the
proportion of sites expected to yield.
Playa represented 10% of all area surveyed and
accounted for 15% of all sites recovered, giving a yield
ration of 1.5 (one and one half times the number of sites
that were expected) .
Dune accounted for 2% of all land surveyed and 0% of
all sites recovered. Dune would be expected to yield
approximately 2% of all sites. Stage 1 recovered none in
the Dune areas. There are several possible reasons; small
sample size (this applies to Lava areas as well, which
showed a higher than expected yield by approximately four
times) . The smaller the sample, the greater the possibility
of lack of representativeness. Another possible cause for
low recovery in dune areas is the nature of dunes themselves,
covering and uncovering action of constant sand movement.
Mojave Sink areas yielded the highest percentage of
sites (other than the small Lava sample) ; 7% of all surveyed
area was Mojave Sink, while 15% of all sites were recovered
from this area, a yield of little over two times that
Lava area represented 2% of all area surveyed and 8% of
all sites encountered - four times the yield expected.
Further research will aim in determining whether this is a
true representation, or merely small sample effects.
In summary, it can be seen that there is a distinct
preference for certain geomorphic types to others: Playa,
Mojave Sink and Lava over Mountain/Hill and Dune (and to a
certain extent, Pediment which meets but does not surpass
the expected probabilities) .
Also of interest are the distributions of prehistoric
and historic sites by the respective geomorphic units, (as
presented below in Table 4) .
yielded only approximately one-quarter of the expected
number of historic sites, while Valley (Alluvial Fan-Pediment)
areas yielded almost one and one-half (1.42) times the
expected number of sites.
No historic sites were recovered in the dune areas,
Mojave Sink area or the Lava areas.
Prehistoric Sites - In the case of Mountain/Hill areas,
two-thirds (66%) of the expected number of sites were
recovered. Seventy per cent of the expected number were
found in Alluvial Fan transects, while the Playa area only
yielded 12% (l/8th) of that expected. The Mojave Sink and
Lava areas generated the highest percentage of sites per
unit, almost three and one third times what would be
expected in the Mojave Sink and six times that expected in
the lava area. Thirty-five percent of all the prehistoric
sites came from only 9% of the surveyed area.
There appears to be a distinct shift between prehistoric
and historic preferences. Prehistoric peoples seem to have
exploited a wider range of resources than historic peoples.
Historic interest is primarily in those areas optimal for
mining and railroads (both highly dependent upon each other) .
While prehistoric interest was in lithic quarry areas, there
was also a heavy dependence upon the availability of free
flowing water (without a well technology) .
Stage 11 Sample Design
The stage 11 Sample Design has two goals:
a) to provide a random selection from areas not well
covered by the initial 42 Stage 1 transects, and
b) to provide a test of a stratified random sample
against the prior probabilities garnered from the
Stage 1 simple random sample .
One of the primary aims of the study is to determine
the reliability of a 1% sample from such a large and
presumably diverse areal population. This is necessary not
only for formulating a predictive model as a basis for
future investigation, but to furnish a measure of validity
for the data accumulated by this survey.
With such an aim in mind, it is essential that the 1%
sample encompass the widest possible area (to assure the
maximum possible applicability to the entire population) .
For this reason the Stage 11 sample consists of a random
sample of areas not covered by the Stage 1 sample. (Non-
coverage was defined as an area approximately two miles
square without a Stage 1 transect.) Like the Stage 1 sample,
the Stage 11 sample also consists of 42 transects, or
approximately 30% of the projected 136 transects to yield a
1% sample overall. These blocks of non-coverage are large
enough to insure that a significant area is considered, yet
small enough so that they are for the most part relatively
homogeneous. Their homogeneity assures that comparisons
within each block will be accurate, yet allows for comparison
with equal sized units which are characteristically
The first stratification made in the selection of Stage
11 transects is between the Northern and Southern halves.
There are several reasons for such a preliminary division.
1. Logistically there is a distinct difference between
access to sections 1-800 and 801-1504.
2. The two units are equal in size due to section size
fluctuation and the inclusion of odd-sized sections, as well
as a minor effort made prior to Stage 1 in the assignment of
section numbers to sections (duplication of approximately 20
3. On a geomorphic basis it is reasonable to draw a
division along the section # 800 - line.
4. In a large and/or heterogeneous population, it is
advantageous to split the area into smaller units to somewhat
alleviate the characteristic sampling fluctuations attendant
with such populations.
The second stratification was based upon the units of
non-coverage. These units can best be seen as outlined on
the population map. Transects were randomly selected from
within these units, again using a random number table.
Random sections were first selected, and then random transects
(enumerated from 1 to 16 as in Stage 1) were chosen. As in
Stage 1, geomorphic assignments were made at the time of
selection. These geomorphic units will enhance the nature
of the data accumulated in the Stage 11 phase and will provide
a basis on which to compare and test the Stage 1 results.
The following page summarizes in tabular form the random
sections and transects selected and their geomorphic assign-
Representative petroglyph elements from Kane Wash in the
Mojave Basin Planning Unit. Illustration by Russell L.
Kaldenberg after Malcolm Rogers' notes for M-49, on file
at the San Diego Museum of Man.
STAGE II - GEOMORPHIC
NORTH PORTION -
TOTAL STAGE II
STAGE II - NORTH PORTION
* This transect was omitted accidentally and is not included in
the overall statistics.
Stage 11 Design Reviewed
The purpose of the Stage 11 sample was twofold:
a) insure representation from areas not well
covered by Stage 1, and
b) provide a test of simple random sampling (Stage
1) against a stratified sample (Stage 11) .
Comparison between Percentage of Geomorphic Units Surveyed
in Stage 1 (Table 4) and Stage 11 (Table 5).
As can be seen, there is very little variance in the
percentage distribution of geomorphic units between Stage 1
and Stage 11 (at most 4%). Indication are, therefore, that
the originally derived distribution is adequately representa-
tive. Variance can, for the most part, be attributed to
Differences in site distribution across geomorphic units
between Stage 1 and 11 (Table 7) are not as easily explained.
In Stage 11 the yields of Mountain/Hill and Pediment/Arroyo
are almost reverse that of Stage 1. Stage 1 yielded three
times the expected, and in Stage 11 yielded four times. Areas
primarily within a lava flow yielded three and one third times
as many sites as expected in Stage 1, yet only four-fifths as
expected in Stage 11.
In spite of the differences in distributions, it is still
clear that the Mojave Sink areas (most probably due to
available water) and the Lava areas (for raw material quarry-
ing and production) are still highly preferred for prehistoric
site locations, although not all utilized in historic times.
When taking into account the differences between Stages 1
and 11 using only prehistoric sites (Table 8) , the disparity
is lessened somewhat. Mountain/Hill yield is virtually the
same; other than Mojave Sink and Lava areas (which represent
a small percentage of the overall area) , the major differences
are between Pediment/ Arroyo and Playa. In the Stage 1
(Pediment) sample, 50% of the area accounted for only 32% of
the sites, while in Stage 11 49% of all the sample
(virtually the same as Stage 1 Pediment/Arroyo) accounted
for only 12% of the sites. Stage 11 Playa, on the other
hand, yielded four times more sites than Stage 1 had.
Although there is not total agreement with the Stage
1 results, the Stage 11 results concur with those of Stage
1 in dicating that geomorphic units do help determine site
presence or absence.
Stage 111 Sample Design
The Stage 111 sample concentrates on areas expected to
yield data based on prior information. This information is
of two kinds:
a) prior information from Stages 1 and 11
b) information intrinsic to the archaeologist/
investigator. Such information which the
investigator has accumulated via coursework,
reading and previous investigations in the
In the context of this investigation, areas to receive
further study are:
1. hydrologic systems - lakes, rivers and springs
2. areas of high natural raw material yield
(outcrops, lava flows)
3. dune areas
4. mountain/hill areas providing prime resources
In specific, the following areas were chosen to receive
Stage 111 survey transects:
MESQUITE HILLS (South of-)
MOJAVE SINK (Mojave River Wash & Canyon)
LAVA FLOW AREA (West of Pisgah Crater)
The purpose of the Stage 111 survey phase is to examine
areas expected to be of interest. These areas of interest
were selected on the following basis:
N of Sites
14 25 39 8 17 25
* STAGE I and STAGE II - Sites Only
Sites Site% Geom% Ratio
3 18 26 .69
^PREHISTORIC SITES ONLY
Afton Canyon +
N Cady Mts
Mojave River Wash
Alvord Mtn (to east)
This is an alternate transect, never surveyed
which was inadvertently included in the data
compiled for Stage III
STAGE III (continued)
a) prior information - Stages 1 and 11 (i.e. Mojave
b) information inherent to archaeologist with experience
in the area - lake terraces, dune, lava area
c) areas of interest (both geomorphic areas under-
represented and areas of archaeological interest)
which were under-sampled in the first two stages
Included in these areas of further interest are:
a) hydrologic systems (lakes, rivers, springs)
b) areas of high natural lithic raw material yield
(outcrops, lava flows)
c) dune areas (including dune blowouts)
d) mountain/hill areas providing prime resources
This stage represents 43% of the total sample (63
transects) (Stages 1 and 11 comprising approximately 30%
each (28 and 29%) with 42 and 43 transects respectively) .
The Stage 111 survey yielded proportionally more sites:
% of sample # sites ratio of yield
STAGE 1 28 39 1.39
II 29 25 .86
III 43 102 2.37
There are several possible reasons:
A. A larger sample may tend to yield a proportionately
larger number of sites.
B. Simple and stratified random sampling is not the
way to locate the most sites, because of greater
likelihood that site locations are based on
environmental factors rather than being randomly
C. It should also be emphasized that Stages 1 and 11
samplings were oriented as much toward a
determination of where sites were located as well
as where they did not occur.
STAGE 111 GEOMORPHIC DISTRIBUTION
Number of transects
GEOMORPHIC DISTRIBUTION - ALL STAGES
STAGE III - SITE DISTRIBUTION
102 total # of sites
Stage 111 - Geomorphic Distribution
The distribution of geomorphic units in Stage 111 is
drastically different from the two prior stages (Table 10) ;
less Mountain/Hill, Playa and Pediment/Arroyo were examined
while more Dune, Mojave Sink and Lava areas were investigated,
In the case of Dune areas only 2% of Stage 1 and none of
Stage 11 sample included Dune, whereas 27% of the Stage 111
sample was geomorphically classed as Dune.
This discrepancy in geomorphic units among the stages
has several causes. In Stage 1, through simple random
sampling, the approximate proportions of each geomorphic
unit was achieved; by inspection, about one-half of all
areas sampled were composed of pediment. Although close to
the Stage 1 distribution, Stage 11 was somewhat skewed by
stratification (strata being composed of areas greater than
50 square miles without a Stage 1 transect) . Between Stages
1 and 11 the major variation is between the less represented
units (Mojave Sink, Lava, etc.), which is reasonable
considering the small sample size. In the Stage 111 sample,
however, no attempt was made to adequately represent
geomorphic units proportionately. In fact, one of the
expressed aims of the Stage 111 sample was to insure
representation of those areas not well sampled in the first
COMPARISON OF HISTORIC vs. PREHISTORIC SITES DISTRIBUTION FOR
There is a marked difference between the distributions
of prehistoric sites and historic sites (Table 12) . The
prime difference is in the large number of prehistoric vs.
historic sites - 126 versus 40, a difference of over three
times. The nature of aboriginal life makes this reasonable,
especially since most of these prehistoric sites are classed
as "temporary camps". Semi-nomadic hunting and gathering
necessitated small settlements of short duration over large
and time-intensive structures and foundations.
The other main difference is among geomorphic units.
Prehistoric sites exhibit a greater diversity in terms of
site location. Although Pediment and Dune were the most
favored for location, a significant proportion of sites are
found spread among the other units; approximately 10%
Mountain/Hill, Playa, and Lava; and approximately 14% Mojave
Sink. Aboriginal peoples exploited much of the available
Historic settlements, on the other hand, tend to occur
primarily (50% of the time) on the pedimental terrain; to a
lesser extent in Mountain/Hill (18%) , Dune (18%) and Playa
(13%) territory; to the virtual exclusion of the Mojave
Sink and Lava areas. Only one site was located in the
Mojave Sink area, a water tank, and none were located in
the Lava flow area.
OVERALL YIELD - ALL STAGES - historic sites only
I II III Overall Percentages
M 1 3 3
V 10 4 6
P 3 1 1
One half of all historic sites were located in the
Pediment/Arroyo geomorphic units, followed by Mountain/Hill
and Dune; considered to be the next most habitable locations
for historic sites. It is not surprising that the Lava area
accounted for no sites, or that only one was located in the
Canyon/Wash terrain of the Mojave Sink.
OVERALL YIELD - ALL STAGES - prehistoric sites only
In contrast to the historic sites, only approximately 1/3 (30%)
of the sites were discovered in the Pediment areas. Another 27% were
recovered from the Dune area.
These results strongly indicate two things:
A. prehistoric and historic sites should be
considered separately (Tables 13 and 14) ;
B. geomorphic units should be considered
Distinctive preferences exist when it is a question of
predicting site type and location. Given a Mojave Sink or
Lava area the likelihood is almost 9 to 1 (scaling for
differential in site yield) that the site will be prehistoric;
whereas sites recovered on Pediment could easily be either
(with a slight edge toward the site being historic) .
The Triangle or Field Road Geoglyph Site located approximately 35 miles
east of Barstow, on the north bank of the Mojave River. Photo courtesy
of Harry B. Casey, Imperial Valley Museum Society.
SITE PREDICTABILITY BY TRANSECT LOCATION
In reviewing the data collected through the specified
procedures of transect survey, the low frequencies of sites
in certain of the geomorphic strata during Stages 1 and 2
resulted in the accumulation of negative evidence. The
significance of the null data must be clarified as a factor
related to the derivation of transect location through the
methodology of random stratified sampling. Also, these
data must be analyzed as a part of the determination of site
density occurrences within the study area. The negative
data, or absence of sites within a transect, are indicative
of no historic or prehistoric use of that transect area and
can be correlated with site frequencies, occupation areas
and site density patterns. For the purpose of accomplishing
these goals on the basis of transect occurrence within a
geomorphic stratum, a method of analysis was devised, and
two terms more often associated with human genetic analysis
were modified and applied to this archaeological project.
Concordance, which in common usage means agreement, is
expanded to mean not only agreement, but the numbers of
sites or isolate sites within a transect; that is, the
density of sites per transect. Discordance, which usually
implies disagreement, is also expanded from merely
disagreement to refer to those transects in which no sites
In Stage 1 concordance of transects for all the
geomorphic strata was 55% frequency and discordance was 45%.
In Stage 2 concordance of transects for all strata was 32%
and discordance 6 8%. In Stage 3 where the transect location
was non-random concordance of transects for all strata was
56% and discordance was 44% (Table 15) . These percent
frequencies of concordance are derived from the total
numbers per stage, and the concordance frequencies are an
indication of site densities.
Subsequently, the concept of concordance as used in
this archaeological context was further divided to separate
transects containing one site only from those containing
more than one site or those with isolate sites. It is
possible that some of the smaller sites recorded in the
field were actually loci of some of the larger sites, but
this could only be determined by a more intensive research
level survey of these transect areas. Table 15 presents
the tabulation of the number of transects, with concordance
for each of the five geomorphic strata within each of the
three stages. In order to compare transect concordance by
geomorphic strata with either historic or prehistoric site
occurrences, a similar tabulation was used and is detailed
in Tables 16 and 17.
In the tables in Section 6 transects listed as
containing isolate prehistoric finds may refer to a single
modified flake, or a rock circle with no associated cultural
material. In addition, artifacts as an isolated sherd,
metate or mano, when originally encountered during the field
survey, were considered isolated finds and so recorded by
the crew members. The BLM considers discontinuous pre-
historic artifacts as prehistoric sites according to their
site definitions. These are labeled now as sites on the
inventory records and maps, and included as sites in Tables
15 and 16.
Isolated historic debris was not recorded as a site
during the field work, although these finds were noted on
the transect forms. These single historic finds consisted
either of a tin can, a trap or other discarded items found
usually in washes, arroyos or in areas where there was
evidence of recent human activities and disturbance.
Concordance of isolated historic finds in Table 17 has
reference only to the occurrence of a claim marker within
a transect. Claim markers are included under the isolate
sites column in Table 15.
In Table 15 transects with a single site, whether
historic or prehistoric, are listed as concordant, and
transects with more than one site are tabulated as concordant
in the column labeled multiple sites. Transects with a
single find, as delineated above, are listed in the column
labeled isolate sites. When the site occurrences within
transects are divided in Tables 16 and 17 as to historic or
prehistoric sites, tabulation of transects with isolate,
single or multiple sites changes. If the isolate site,
the single site or the multiple sites within a transect are
all prehistoric, then Table 17, showing occurrence of
historic sites by transect, will indicate discordance for
that transect, and the reverse if the isolate, single or
multiple sites are historic. Where the multiple sites are
divided between historic and prehistoric cultural manifesta-
tions, concordance will be appropriately tabulated for both
Tables 16 and 17, dependent on the number of historic or
prehistoric sites occurring within that transect. In a
situation as in Transect MB-564, Site A, where a prehistoric
site has been subsequently covered by a historical dump,
concordance is tabulated as a transect with a prehistoric
site in Table 16 and an historic site in Table 17.
During the tabulation of site occurrence within
transects by geomorphic stratum, for each of the three stages
percent frequencies of concordance or discordance were
calculated. For concordance percentages, these were further
divided according to frequencies of single site, multiple
site, or isolate site occurrences. Totals of transect
percent frequency of concordance are calculated for each of
the five geomorphic strata. In addition, for each stage
totals for type of site frequencies (single site, multiple
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sites or isolate sites per transect) were also tabulated
and percent frequency of these concordances calculated, as
well as total discordance for that stage. These totals by
stage of concordance or discordance are based on the actual
numbers, and do not reflect transect distribution by
geomorphic stratum. Their importance, in particular, relates
to the identification of the percent frequency of concordance
of those transects where multiple sites occur that could
obscure the disproportionate weight such transects might
carry in overall site density calculations. In site density
estimates for the project area by geomorphic strata, the
confidence level of predictability for a stratum could be
skewed by concordance of multiple sites within a few transects
located in that stratum. When these multiple site occurrences
are averaged to derive site density the presence of numerous
transects with no sites in a stratum is thus obscured or
Transect selection for Stage 1 was through a random
sampling procedure as delineated by the COAR. Twenty-eight,
or 42 transects, of the total number, 148 transects, were
surveyed during this stage. When Stage 1 was completed
there were still large areas within the Planning Unit in which
no transects had been placed. To insure that random selection
of transects were distributed throughout the study area, a
pragmatic random sampling procedure was used to determine the
locations of the 44 transects for Stage 2 (Section 6, page 115)
The selection was pragmatic in that, although transects were
chosen randomly, they were included in Stage 2 only if the
transect fell within an area where no Stage 1 transects had
occurred (Section 6, page 119). These 44 Stage 2 transects
totaled over 30% of the total transect number. As a
consequence of this procedure, 58% of all the transects in
the sampling universe contained transects that had been
selected on the basis of a random sampling method (Stages 1
and 2) . The 62 Stage 3 transects, or 42% of the total
transects, were non-randomly selected and, although still
identified as to one of the five geomorphic strata, were
located within those strata where site predictability had
shown greater frequencies of concordance, indicative of a
higher level of confidence (Section 6, page 120). The
following four sketch maps outline the position of all the
transects (Map 8), and those for Stages 1, 11, and 111.
During the field work for Stage 1, it was observed that
the sand dune geomorphic stratum was not a viable entity as
a stratum, as no sand dune locales within the project area
proved sufficiently large that they equal 50% or more of the
size of any one transect, as based on the U.S.G.S. topo-
graphic maps. As stated in the section on Methodology, the
geomorphic stratum of a transect is determined if 50% or
more of the transect falls within that geomorphic stratum.
There are numerous sand dunes within the project area,
especially in the vicinity of East and West Cronese Lakes
MAP NO. 7
MAP NO. 8
MAP No. 9
MAP No. 10
and the Mojave River, but they are smaller than 50% of any
transect. Only one transect in Stage 1 was listed by Miller
as a dune area, but on later consideration was reassigned
to the Mojave Sink stratum. Although in Section 6 thirty
prehistoric sites are listed as being situated in dunes,
this refers to the immediate locale of the site and not to
the entire transect designation. Since the majority of the
sand dunes actually occur in the Mojave Sink stratum, the
dune stratum is effectively merged with the Mojave Sink
stratum for the southern Owlshead/Amargosa and Mojave Basin
Planning Unit, and not included in Tables 15 through 17 or
considered further in this discussion.
In dividing the project into three stages, since there
was only a minimum of 136 transects required by the BLM to
concur with the 1% level of the sampling with five geomorphic
strata within each stage, the total actual numbers for
transect concordance or discordance are small. When these
numbers are further subdivided into transects with single or
multiple sites or isolate sites, as well as historic or
prehistoric site occurrences, the number of transects for
any specific factor is even smaller. For this reason,
percentages were calculated for each factor so that percent
frequencies of occurrence could be presented in tabular form
(Tables 15, 16 and 17) for comparison of these various
environmental and cultural factors and the inferential
determination of site density by stratum.
The number of transects for any one geomorphic stratum
tends to be related to the proportional distribution of that
stratum within the Planning Unit or the sampling universe.
The five geomorphic strata are representative of environmental
zones and were selected as a classification of the major
terrain variations that occur within the project area. Site
frequencies are shown as percentages within these strata,
since they are a clearer presentation than the raw number data
for each stage.
Discordance frequencies of 33% to 81% in the mountain/
hill, pediment/arroyo and playa strata occur during Stages 1
and 2, Table 15. In Table 16, where the occurrence of only
prehistoric sites in transects is recorded, discordance in
both Stages 1 and 2 increases to over 60% for these three
strata. In Stage 1 of Table 17, the drop in discordance for
the transect occurrence of historic sites in the pediment/
arroyo and playa strata, is a reflection of mining activities
in the pediment/arroyo stratum and railroad activities in
the playa stratum. Discordance of historic site occurrence
in Stage 1 transects for the other strata, mountain/hill,
Mojave Sink and Lava, is over 80%. For Stage 2 discordance
of historic site occurrence for all strata is 86% or more.
The confidence level for predicting historic site occurrence
through any of the geomorphic strata is not high, as is
immediately apparent in reviewing the discordance percentages
in Stage 3 where transects were non-randomly selected. Only
the mountain/hill and playa strata show any degree of
concordance. The 50% mountain/hill historic concordance
relates to mining activities, while the 50% concordance in
the playa stratum reflects railroad oriented sites.
In Stage 3 discordance for the occurrence of all site
types has a frequency of under 5 0% for the five strata.
When selecting the non-random locations for the Stage 3
transects data feedback from the field work for Stages 1
and 2 determined the positioning of the transects in
geomorphic strata (Section 6, page 125). Discordance
percentages are under 50% for the occurrence of all site
types within the strata, the frequency of 57% for pediment/
arroyo being the highest discordance for a stratum in Stage
3 (Table 15) . When prehistoric site occurrence only within
Stage 3 transects is considered, the overall comparison of
discordance/concordance is 27% to 73% (Table 16) . The
concordance is high for mountain/hill, and relates to the
dependence of aboriginal use on this environmental zone for
quarrying activities. Even in Stage 3, where transects were
non-randomly selected, the discordance percentages are not
extremely low, with the exception of mountain/hill and playa,
which is a factor of the number of transects in which no
cultural manifestations were observed, or null data.
As mentioned earlier, the occurrence of multiple sites
within one transect, if not segregated as a specific factor,
can disproportionately weight site frequency analysis and
attempted site density prediction. Since the clustering of
historic sites frequently has relevance to a particular
economic activity source or to railroad berms, prehistoric
sites only are included in this consideration of site
density. During Stage 1 and 2 no more than nine transects
for each of the five geomorphic strata contained multiple
prehistoric sites (Table 16) . The one Stage 1 transect
with multiple sites in the pediment/arroyo stratum has a
low frequency, 17%, relative to the total number of transects
with concordance in Stage 1. Those transects with multiple
sites in the Mojave Sink stratum have a frequency of 50% of
the total number of Stage 1 transects with concordance. The
four Stage 2 transects with multiple prehistoric sites occur
one each in the mountain/hill, pediment/arroyo, playa and
Mojave Sink strata with a frequency of 36% of the total
number of transects with concordance. During Stage 3,
transects with multiple prehistoric sites increase to six
within the pediment/arroyo stratum, or 60% of the total
concordance; and five in the playa stratum, or 100%; three
in the Mojave Sink, a frequency of 60% of the total concor-
dance; and one transect with multiple sites, or 50%
frequency, in the lava stratum. These multiple site
transect concordances are an indication of increased
aboriginal use of these environments prehistorically within
certain locales. In the environmental discussion of the
frequencies of site distribution, independent of transect
geomorphic stratum determination, there is a clear
indication of the correlation of prehistoric sites within
locales whose biotic resources were known to be exploited
An aspect of this 1% survey of the project area is the
expectation that some reliability can be placed on data
derived from this percent frequency of observation for
establishing site prediction within a designated region.
Percent frequencies of concordance in transects located
within four of the five geomorphic strata give some measure
of the confidence level for site prediction that has resulted
from this project. The frequency of occurrence of isolate,
single and multiple sites per transect are an indication of
the density of sites within this 1% of the acreage of the
Planning Unit. A better reflection of density is the type
of geomorphic locale (not the geomorphic stratum of the
transect) in which the site is situated. In Tables 18 and 19,
which list site frequency by the geomorphic locales of the
site, high frequencies of site percentages occur within the
sand dune locale and the Mojave Sink locale areas. The
pediment geomorphic locale also has high site frequencies
which is interpreted as the aboriginal exploitation of the
float materials available for quarrying and manufacture of
In a retrospective review of the sampling design (Section
6) and the delineation of the project transects into three
stages, it is now believed that a two stage sampling design
might have proved simpler. Also, in consideration of the
purpose for which Stage 2 was used, that of insuring transects
positioned throughout the Planning Unit, a larger Stage 1 with
perhaps 60 transects would have effectively provided this
distribution. It is suggested, based on the results and
analysis of field research, that an initial stage containing
about 40% of the transects should have been established
through a random stratified sampling procedure. It is
interesting that in Stage 2 the randomly selected 44 transects
show a significantly lower total concordance, 32%, than the
Stage 1 transects, 55%. In fact, when total transects for
these two randomly selected stages are combined concordance
is 43% and discordance is 57%. Random selection of transects
provides clues as to site patterning, but essentially there
is less than a 50% chance that sites will occur within a
randomly selected transect for this project area when based
on a 1% sample. Field reconnaissance, prior to devising the
parameters of the geomorphic strata is advised, since in this
project area the information obtained would have led to the
merging of sand dune stratum with that of the Mojave Sink
with regard to transect stratum designation only. Sand dune
locales, from the site frequencies calculated for this
project, were valuable prehistoric resources.
The procedure of random sampling, utilizing imposed
geomorphic strata for the initial stage of this project, was
productive in demonstrating what areas and resources were
exploited prehistorically, as compared with the historic use
patterns. Subsequent to the completion of the first stage,
the second stage should have included the remaining 60% of
the transects, which would have then been located within
those geomorphic strata showing higher transect concordance
to either confirm the concordance or indicate discordance
with the additional data base. The helicopter could have
been used as part of the first stage, at the end, and just
prior to beginning the second stage. In this way accessibly
difficult transects could be reached and simultaneously
aerial overviews could be used for determining transect
locations for the second and non-random stage of the project.
The inclusion of null data through the use of the
concept of concordance and discordance has proven a useful
tool in the interpretation of the data resultant from the
field survey. Negative information is a significant factor
in any attempt to predict site frequencies, densities or
confidence levels for a project area in which the transects
cover little more than 1% of the actual acreage. Discordance
clarifies the use of percent frequencies of occurrence where
high frequencies appear, but are derived from a small actual
amount of data. A 100% concordance for a transect in a
geomorphic stratum may merely be the reflection of one
transect for that stratum in a particular stage, and not of
predictive value nor an indication of site density.
One of the problems of transect concordance/discordance
for geomorphic strata relates to the statement of Morrison
(1965) that in the southern Great Basin the pediment valleys
are wider. This statement offers an explanation of the
differences observed between the transect geomorphic strata
lower concordance frequencies and the site geomorphic locale
higher frequencies. In the wider valleys of the southern
Great Basin, one transect a mile long may span several of
the five geomorphic strata delineations, but be given the
designation of that geomorphic stratum which occupies 50%
or more of the total transect. Since nearly 30% of the
transects contain multiple strata, transect designation by
geomorphic stratum tends to incorporate too many environ-
mental variables in the wider valleys of the southern portion
of the Great Basin in which the project area is located.
This factor is effectively seen in the lower transect
frequencies of concordance within geomorphic strata.
To draw final conclusions from transect concordance
alone would prove unreliable as to the actual prediction of
site densities for any specific environmental locale. For
that information, it is necessary to consult the precise
environs of the site itself, using the six geomorphic strata
delineated for the transects, but with reference to the
specific geomorphic locale where the site is situated. The
results of this analysis shown in Tables 18 and 19 are
utilizable in site prediction by geomorphic locale, and in
the determination of confidence levels with regard to this
distribution as well as the site densities of site types
within the Planning Unit.
In the consideration of site distribution within this
project area there are factors which affect any interpretation
of these sites, or the artif actual patterns within them.
Historically this area has been researched by archaeologists
over time, so that there is recorded data about sites, their
artif actual associations and their features, particularly in
the Cronese Lake and Mojave Sink areas.
Since the time when archaeologists began recording sites
in the project area during the 1920s and 1930s, and the time
of field observations of these same sites by the crew members
for this project, there has been destruction and disturbance
through erosional and climatic conditions, as well as an
accelerated human impact on archaeological sites through the
heavy use of the area as a center for recreational activities.
On several occasion when field crew were surveying during
weekends or holidays, particularly in the Mojave Sink area,
groups of 20 to 30 recreational vehicles towing dune or dirt
bikes were observed. This is indicative of the ongoing type
of impact that has been occurring, particularly in dune
locales in the Mojave Sink area within the past ten years.
During the project no transects directly involved the
historic Mojave Trail or the Old Government road, which
passes through the Planning Unit in parts of Soda Lake,
Mojave Sink and the Afton Canyon of the Mohave River. The
trail is discussed in the Historic section by Roske, and
has been fully described by Dennis Casebier (1975) .
Petroglyphs from Rock Corral
as noted by Malcolm Rogers.
Illustration by R. Kaldenberg,
after Rogers' notes from M-133
on file at the San Diego
Museum of Man.
ARCH7AEOLOGICAL SITE INTERPRETATION
As in many other areas of the Mohave Desert, within
the project area the first archaeological work of any
substance was carried out by Malcolm Rogers during the 1920s,
Rogers, working under the auspices of the San Diego Museum
of Man, began intensive research and made extensive
collections from the study area and the adjacent regions.
This earlier work was followed in the 1930s by widespread
research in the Lake Mohave area by E. and W. Campbell, who
published through the Southwest Museum, Los Angeles. In a
number of these projects they were aided by Charles Amsden
of the Southwest Museum. This early work has been followed
more recently by the research of Ruth D. Simpson in the
Manix Lake area; T. Orr and C. Warren; Warren, DeCosta,
Brainard, and others who have worked in both the Silver Lake
and Soda Lake area. W. Venner and J. Benton have recently
excavated a small shelter site north of Baker in the Silver
To date, many authors feel that "what are probably the
earliest remains of human activity in the California desert
are, at present, not adequately dated or described. It is
not known what plants and animals lived in the vicinity of
the sites, nor is it understood how artifacts found at the
sites were used" (King et al. 1967:21). Hester (1973) has
So many cultural-chronological sequences have
been proposed for the Mohave Desert that it is
difficult to know just where to begin to sort
them out. There are a number of claims of extreme
antiquity for man's presence in the Mohave region.
Simpson. . .proposed a Manix Lake Lithic Industry
which she placed in excess of 20,000 years of age.
However, more recent finds by Simpson (in
association with L. S. B. Leakey) have been made
in the Calico Hills area. Although there have
been claims that these finds date back more than
100,000 years..., most archaeologists remain
unconvinced that the lithic materials found at
the site are indeed the result of human
manufacture (Hester 1973:73).
Prior to Warren and Crabtree ' s recent (in press)
description of their southwestern Great Basin data, a
number of different chronologies have been utilized. Donnan
(196 4) described the sequence as Tule Springs, Lake Mohave-
Playa, Pinto Basin, Amargosa, Non-Yuman, Yuman and
Shoshonean; Hester (1973) as San Dieguito, Pinto, Amargosa
and Yuma-Shoshonean; and T. King (1976) as Pre-Projectile
San Dieguito, Pinto, Amargosa, Yuman-Shoshonean.
Pre-Projectile Point Stage . The dating and validity
of this stage has been debated for several years entirely
on the basis of sites which contain crude choppers, scrapers,
cores, and other lithic implements. In the Mohave Desert
region R. D. Simpson has assigned a date of 15,400-16,000
B.C. for her Manix Lake lithic assemblages (T. King 1976) .
While this stage may be possible for the region, the
unequivocal evidence for such a stage has yet to be presented
and accepted by both regional specialists and archaeologists
at large. Donnan's (1964) proposed Tule Springs Stage
appears to be subsequent to the last of this Pre-Projectile
San Dieguito Complex . This stage is the earliest
archaeological sequence to be accepted for the Mohave Desert
region and was described by C. N. Warren (1967) as a
"generalized hunting tradition". Artifact assemblages for
the San Dieguito complex include crescents, ovate points,
planes, borers, thin biface knives, end and side scrapers,
choppers, cobble hearths, lanceolate bifaces and Lake
Mohave and Silver Lake points (T. King 1976) . San Dieguito
sites usually occur near playa edges and may have been
occupied during the time of relatively greater effective
In 1937 the Campbells proposed an industry known as the
Lake Mohave Industry, which is derived from sites which are
located on old beaches and terraces of the Pleistocene Lake
Mohave. Rogers (1939) established a Playa Industry based
on sites located in the Mohave and Colorado Deserts of
California and a portion of western Arizona. Both of these
industries are based primarily on a hunting subsistence
pattern. They resemble each other, and also the San Dieguito
Complex from San Diego County, California. Warren and True
(1961:271) stated that:
Considering the data now available there appears
to be strong evidence that the Playa Industry
described by Rogers (1939) , the Lake Mohave Complex
(Campbell et al, 1937) and the San Dieguito Complex
are roughly contemporaneous and share many traits
which set them off as an early cultural horizon
extending across Southern California.
Warren (1967) and Hester (1973) suggest that the complex
had a terminal date of 6,000 to 7,000 B.C. Woodward and
Woodward (1966) state that according to their geological
dates in the Lake Mohave study area some of the sites may
extend to 4,500 B.C.
Pinto Basin Complex . It has been suggested that, in
the Mohave Desert, the Pinto Basin Complex follows that of
the San Dieguito Complex. This stage is delineated by
surface camps, which usually contain lanceolate points
with weak shoulders, and short stems in various forms
(Clewlow 1968) . Also contained in the sites are metates,
manos, choppers, scrapers and numerous other lithics.
The subsistence pattern of this complex still appears
to be heavily weighted toward hunting, but with the
increased exploitation of seeds and plants. The number
of hunting tools, in comparison with the number of plant
processing tools found in the sites, tend to support this
This complex is thought to have begun between 6,000 and
7,000 B.C. according to Antevs (1952), but there are
conflicting dates suggested by other authors. These other
proposed dates tend to average a time period for the begin-
ning of this site complex at around 3,000 B.C. and a
continuation to between 500 B.C. to A.D. 0. Hester and
Heizer (1973) also suggest that in the Mohave Desert some
of the more recent components, as Silver Lake Points, may
bridge the time between San Dieguito and Pinto Basin
Amargosa Complex. As Hester points out, this complex
is so little known that its chronological boundaries are
unclear. First defined by Rogers in 1935, he divided the
Amargosa Complex into two phases; one characterized by
large corner and side notched points and the other by a
decrease in the size of the point types. Wallace (1962)
has suggested that the second phase is better defined
archaeologically, and has linked it with Anasazi
occupations in the Mohave Desert when these people
exploited turquoise deposits there. A temporal span from
A.D. to A.D. 500 has been proposed by Rogers and others
for this complex, but Lanning (1963) equates the Amargosa
Complex with the Middle Rose Springs sequence of ca. 500
B.C. to A.D. 500.
Yuman-Shoshonean Complex . The Amargosa complex is
followed by the Yuman-Shoshonean complex, which has
probably late prehistoric and historic sequences occurring
in the Mohave Desert. The Yuman phase initially was
characterized by small points, an extensive ground stone
industry and the absence of ceramics (T. King 1976) .
Dates of this complex vary, depending on the part of the
Mohave Desert in which sites are found. In the Providence
Mountain area a date of A.D. 800 to A.D. 1400 is related
to the Yuman phase. "Donnan (1964) has proposed a more
complex cultural sequence of a Non-Ceramic Yuman Horizon
ending ca. A.D. 700, a Yuman Horizon characterized by
various ceramics from A.D. 800 to A.D. 1400, a Shoshonean
Horizon of intrusive Southern Paiute peoples from A.D. 1400
to A.D. 1850, and a protohistoric Desert Mohave Indian
occupation from ca . A.D. 1790-1815" (T. King 1976:133). In
his summary of the various views on the overall complex,
King (1976) follows Donnan's sequence of phases with a
modification of the Mohave Indian occupation. The proto-
Historic phase King suggests is "locally characterized by
Serrano and Vanyume occupations from ca. A.D. 1776 to
A.D. 1900" (1976:135-136).
In a recent revision of the chronological sequences of
the southwestern Great Basin, Warren and Crabtree (in press)
have proposed five periods. The suggested chronological
sequence is based on a broad range of site analysis and
sequences within the southwestern Great Basin area, whereas
many of the other chronologies are based more on the Mojave
Desert region of southern California.
Period I, Lake Mojave, is the earliest and is further
divided into three complexes. Complex A consists of fluted
points which at this time are not fully documented, as they
are isolated surface finds with no other archaeological
association. Complex B is the San Dieguito, which has been
dated from before 7,000 B.C. to about 6,000 B.C., and
includes leaf shaped points, knives, crescents and various
domed scrapers. "This assemblage exhibits a relatively
crude stone flaking technology producing irregular edges,
deep bulbs of percussion and step fractures, irregular
surfaces, and flat, crushed edge surface as if supported
on an anvil" (Warren and Crabtree, m.s.:8). Complex C is
the Haskomat Complex, which is found primarily in the
northwestern Great Basin, but appears to contain lithic
shapes, some of which are similar to those found in the San
Dieguito Complex. In the north, the Haskomat Complex has
been dated from about 8,000 to 5,000 B.C. Warren and
Crabtree (in press) suggest that Period I complexes repre-
sent a hunting technology and may have been adapted to a
lakeside environment. There is an apparent complete lack
of seed grinding implements.
Period II is designated as Pinto and has been dated
from about 5,000 to 2,000 B.C. The artifact assemblage
is similar to that already described for Pinto Basin, but
Warren and Crabtree (in press) mention the use of seed
grinding equipment during this period, although they feel
it never played as significant a role as in other desert
Period III is called Gypsum and is dated from about
2,000 B.C. to A.D. 500. The most frequently encountered
projectile point types are Elko eared, Elko corner notched,
Gypsum Cave and Humboldt concave base. Associated with
these are some metates and manos, knives, scrapers, drills
and shell and stone beads. "More diagnostic traits
include the introduction of incised and painted pebbles
and slate tablets, and the presence of split-twig figurines
and petroglyphs of animals in associations that suggest
well developed hunting ritual" (Warren and Crabtree, m.s.
Period IV, Saratoga Springs, is dated from about A.D.
500 to A.D. 1,000. Projectile point sizes are reduced and
are represented by Rose Springs side notched, Rose Springs
corner notched, Rose Springs contracting stem, and Cotton-
wood triangular points associated with grinding tools,
incised stones and slate pendants.
Period V is called Shoshonean and is dated from about
A.D. 1,000 to the time of historic contact. Desert side
notched projectile points are well represented, as are
triangular knives, mescal knives, incised stones, plain
sherdwares, and numerous unshaped manos and metates. "The
characteristic assemblage for Period V apparently represents
the development and dispersion of Shoshonean peoples across
the Mohave" (Warren and Crabtree, m.s.: 2 3).
Results of Site Type Analysis
Within this section the discussion is concerned only
with the analysis of historic and prehistoric site types
(not the isolate prehistoric sites) , that were encountered
within transects, as these relate to the geomorphic locale.
The site geomorphic locale is the immediate environment in
which a site is situated within the transect, while a
geomorphic stratum refers to the geomorphic designation of
the entire transect. Transects are classified within a
geomorphic stratum if 50% or more of the transect falls
within that geomorphic designation. The six geomorphic
designations were determined by the COAR, and include
mountain/hill, pediment/arroyo, dunes, Mojave Sink, lava,
and playa. As was explained in the consideration of site
occurrence frequencies by transect, the southern Great
Basin pediment valleys are wide, and several different
environmental locales can occur within a one mile long
transect. Consequently, in analyzing actual site
frequencies, geomorphic locales are more precise
specifications for deriving some estimate of potential
site prediction or site densities for the project area.
Types of sites encountered in the survey are grouped
as mining activity, trash dumps, ranching, historic rock
circles, historic camps and towns, water tanks, railroad,
mixed historic and prehistoric materials, prehistoric
lithics, prehistoric temporary camps, milling stations,
pottery locus, and rock circle (prehistoric). Table 18
demonstrates the distribution frequencies of these site
types within the six designated geomorphic locales by stage.
Mining Activity . This site type includes mine shafts,
prospect holes, mining cairns, loading chutes, and process-
ing mills. Mining activity excludes mining camps and towns,
since they are designated within a separate category as
historic camps and towns. A total of 13 separate sites
within the mining activity designation was located, of
which 10 were in the mountain/hill locale, 2 within the
pediment/arroyo locale and 1 in a playa locale. Table 18
shows the breakdown of this site type by locale and stage.
The ten mining activity sites in the mountain/hill locale
consist of those activities related to the distribution of
the ore being mined, while the two sites located within
the pediment/arroyo locale are the remains of processing
mills, which were situated at a lower level. The site in
the playa locale is a mining dump.
Trash Dumps. This site type includes all discarded
historical materials which are in an isolated context and
not associated with any other site type. Four trash dumps
were encountered within the pediment/arroyo locale, and
two within the Mojave Sink locale. Table 18 shows the
distribution of these sites by stage and locale. The
reasons for positions of the isolated historic trash dump
sites cannot be determined. Both the railroad record file
dump and the fresnos (earth scoops) were apparently
abandoned impractically . The field dump is near an old
siding at the apex of Afton Canyon and the Mojave Sink, and
contains records within the filing cabinets from depots
throughout the west and as far east as Kansas City. The
worn out fresnos were hauled nearly one-half mile from
the railroad bed, where they had been utilized during
construction instead of leaving them in a locale adjacent
to the railroad.
Ranching . This type of site includes locales that were
potentially the remains of historically abandoned ranching
activities, which include buildings with associated possible
animal enclosures and historic camps around wells. Only two
sites of this type were located; one found during Stage 1 is
in the pediment/arroyo locale, and the one in the dune
locale was found during Stage 3. The former site contains
historic living debris surrounding a well area, and the
latter site contains remnants of historic buildings,
possible enclosures and a fence.
Historic Rock Circles . These are circular enclosures
of rocks, usually only one rock high, associated with
historic debris. Only sites of this type were encountered
both in Stage 1 located within the pediment/arroyo locale.
The sites contain rock outline circles, one with associated
historical debris and the other near tank tracks. It is
assumed that these may have been made during army maneuvers
in World War II.
Historic Camps and Towns . These sites include historic
buildings, trash dumps, roads, tent outlines, and other
evidences of non-ranching activities. These are considered
to be semi-permanently or permanently utilized areas. Two
historic camps or towns were located in the mountain/hill
locale, three were encountered in the pediment/arroyo
locale, and two in the Mojave Sink locale. Table 18 shows
the distribution of these sites by stage and locale. One
town is the historic Ragtown, located in the pediment/arroyo
locale, which was utilized by miners who worked in the
surrounding areas. The other sites are camps that are
located on or near mining activity areas, with one exception.
This is a camp situated in the middle of Silver Lake and has
an ore dump near it, so it also is probably related to a
mining activity. The largest camp recorded is probably
Rochester, discussed by Roske in the Historic section, and
is located within a pediment/arroyo locale, south of Ragtown
and north of Stedman.
Water Tanks . The only water tank encountered is in the
Mojave Wash, located within the pediment/arroyo locale
during Stage 3. The tank had no associated historic
materials and may have been placed there for cattle usage.
Railroad . All the sites included in this designation
are railroad berms of the historic Tonopah & Tidewater
Railroad, which crossed four separate transects. Despite
the fact that each of these recordings of a railroad berm
is part of the same railroad, they were separately noted
as individual sites, as directed by the COAR. One site
where the berm crosses was in the pediment/arroyo locale,
one in the Mojave Sink locale, and two in the playa locale.
Table 18 shows the distribution of these berms by stage and
locale. The Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad within the project
area extends from Stedman in the south, northward through
Silver Lake, east of Silurian Lake and ends well outside
the Planning Unit in Tonopah, Nevada.
Mixed Historic and Prehistoric. These sites are
situations where either historic sites were situated on top
of previously existing prehistoric sites, or those cultural
manifestations where the site had no associated identifiable
materials. One of these types of sites occurs in the
pediment/arroyo locale found in Stage 1, and one in the
dunes locale found in Stage 3. The site located within the
pediment/arroyo locale is a rock circle with no cultural
material around it, so no determination could be made as
to historic or prehistoric site type. The site within the
dunes locale consists of a prehistoric temporary camp
covered by a historic trash dump.
Lithic Material . This site designation does not include
any of the isolate sites that are cited in Tables 15 and 16,
but refers to prehistoric sites where the cultural data was
entirely composed of lithic materials. This site type
includes lithic scatter sites without adjacent quarryable
materials, lithic sites that contain some type of float
material that could be utilized for tool manufacture, and
exposed chert outcrop with associated flakes. Nine lithic
sites were encountered in the mountain/hill locale, 26
within the pediment/arroyo locale, 1 within the dunes
locale, 13 within the Mojave Sink locale and 4 within the
lava locale. Table 18 shows the distribution of these
sites by stage and locale. Of the nine sites in the
mountain/hill locale, one is the exposed chert outcropping,
or vein, with associated flakes, the other eight are lithic
scatters with no quarryable material. The pediment/arroyo
locale contains both sites with quarry float material and
associated flakes, as well as lithic scatter sites. The
single site in the dunes locale is a lithic scatter, as
are the thirteen sites within the Mojave Sink locale. The
sites in the lava locale consist of two lithic scatters
and two sites with float material and associated cores and
The predominant frequency of lithic material sites in
the pediment/arroyo locale, and the smaller frequency in
the mountain/hill locale, appear to be directly related to
prevalence of washed out quarry materials in these areas
in the form of float, mainly various cherts. No diagnostic
artifacts were identified among these lithic material sites
in any of the locales, and the number of actual workshop
areas associated with these sites is limited. The workshops
usually contain several cores and waste flakes, but almost
no recognizable hammerstones. The lithic sites found in
the dunes and the Mojave Sink locales appear to be secondary
work areas where roughed out materials were being further
refined. The few sites in the lava locale are both primary
and secondary work areas adjacent to the lava flows.
Temporary Camps . The definition for this site type is
Temporary camps are sites that were occupied for
a short length of time... by a few peoples. .. .These
sites can be identified archaeologically by
scattered artifacts, tool manufacturing debris,
fire-affected rocks and possibly features. The
inferred function of the site is limited camping
(i.e., limited subsistence and maintenance
activities)... (BLM 1977 : Attachment 3:2).
Three of these site types were encountered in the pediment/
arroyo locale, 29 in the dunes locale, and 13 in the Mojave
Sink locale. Table 18 shows the distribution of these
sites by stage and locale. Of the three temporary camps in
the pediment/arroyo, two are located on gravel ridges just
north of West Cronese Lake and were probably utilized
during the exploitation of the lakes' resources. One
temporary camp is 4.5 miles northwest of the lake on a
volcanic ridge, and may have been used during the
exploitation of the chert float material in the
surrounding terrain. The 29 temporary camp sites within
the dunes locale are situated either near East or West
Cronese Lake in the low fixed, anchored dunes which
surround both lakes. These sites also relate to the
prehistoric aboriginal exploitation of the lakes' resources.
The 13 Mojave Sink locale sites are also situated in
anchored dunes within the Sink, and their situation is
related to the extensive available resources of that
environment. A great many of these sites have been
previously recorded during prior archaeological research
within the East and West Cronese Lakes area and the Mojave
The sites around the East and West Cronese Lakes were
utilized probably when the lakes contained water, which
occurs during precipitation periods or when the Mojave
River overflows. The water is a fluctuating factor, varying
from one year to the next in prehistoric time, but when present
would have been encompassed by vegetation, with associated
animals and migratory birds. These temporary camps would
then have a widespread chronological distribution even
though they are geographically concentrated in a relatively
The Mojave Sink today contains extensive stands of
mesquite trees and has a relatively stable subterranean
water source. In conjunction with these aspects, this
environment is the habitat of numerous small reptiles, rodents,
rabbits and other wildlife. These flora and fauna would
have served as a reliable environmental resource to
Milling Station . This site type is a manifestation of
food processing tools, either as the dominant tool or as
the only tool on the site. Artifacts considered as food
processing tools in this project area include manos, metates,
pestles and a few portable mortars. Four milling stations
were encountered, two of them located in the dunes locale
found in Stage 3, and two in the Mojave Sink locale found
in Stage 1. Three of the four sites contained food
processing tools only, and the other site contained food
processing artifacts, a few flakes and a few potsherds.
These four sites are located near the East Cronese Lake
or the Mojave Sink, and the plant foods processed could
have been derived from the vegetation surrounding the lake
or adjacent to the sink. The Cronese Lake sites are
situated on the highest beach terrace and are in the process
of being destroyed by erosion through the seasonal
fluctuations of the water level in the lake.
Pottery Locus . A pottery locus is a site that consists
solely of potsherds. Five pottery loci were encountered;
one in the dunes stratum and four in the Mojave Sink locale.
Table 18 shows the distribution of these sites by stage and
locale. The sherdware fragments observed were not
sufficiently similar to have been fragments of the same
pottery vessel. The sherds are plainware and were field
identified, mainly as Lower Colorado Buff ware.
Isolate Sites. This type of site contains reworked
flake material or single lithic artifacts. Six of these
sites were identified during the three stages (see Table 18)
one in the mountain/hill locale, four in the pediment/arroyo
locale, and one in the Mohave Sink locale.
Diagnostic cultural material observed on prehistoric
sites during the survey in the project area was rare, only
two complete projectile points and some sherdware fragments.
Few other recognizably diagnostic artifacts were field
identified and recorded. At one site the diagnostic
cultural material consisted of a complete Mojave Lake point
and several side edge scrapers (possibly diagnostic) , all
observed on Site A, in Transect MB-311. This site is on
a beach remnant approximately 940 feet elevation above the
present Silver Lake playa. The Mojave Lake point could be
considered part of the San Dieguito Complex (T. King 1976)
and dated approximately 6,500 to 11,000 B.C. (Hester 1973).
Side edge scrapers are listed among the artifact types, also
for sites of the San Dieguito Complex. The strand line on
which the Mojave Lake point and associated lithics was
observed is the highest visible strand line of the
Pleistocene Lake Mojave. Opinions vary, but this strand
line and the point may date around 10,000 years ago.
The only other diagnostic projectile point type was
observed on Site A, in Transect MB-631, and closely resembles
a Rose Spring side notched point. This point may generally
fit within the Amargosa Complex, Phase 2, which contains
side notched point types, or Period IV, Saratoga Springs
(Warren and Crabtree, in press) . The temporal span is not
yet clarified, but could range from A.D. to A.D. 500 or
A.D. 1,000, depending on the archaeological chronology
consulted. A single nondiagnostic point tip was observed
in the Mojave Sink area.
King et al . (1976) have presented a detailed description
from the East Mojave Desert region of pottery types, many
of which have been defined from sites located within the
southern Owl shead/ Amargosa and Mojave Basin Planning Unit.
The sherdwares that have been defined by Rogers include
Cronese Brown and Crucero Brown wares, which he stated were
most common near Soda Lake. He identified these wares as
belonging to the Yuman II phase of his sequence, A.D. 1150-
1500. Many of the sherds observed on sites in the field
were recorded as plain ware sherds, plain brownwares and
fewer graywares. These could belong to Rogers 1 Cronese
Brown or Crucero Brown wares. This identification is
particularly applicable to those sherds recorded on sites
in the vicinity of the East and West Cronese Lakes or in
the Mojave Sink area.
Lower Colorado Buffware has also been previously located
in the Mojave Sink area, including some decorated sherd
types. During this survey, all the sherds observed that
were field identified as Lower Colorado Buffware, are plain
ware types. These plain wares probably date to between A.D.
900 and A.D. 1400, although there appears to be no overall
agreement as to the internal chronological sequence of these
Lower Colorado Buff wares within the region of the project
The remainder of the prehistoric cultural materials
observed during the survey of the transects consisted of
non-diagnostic lithics, numerous waste flakes, occasional
worked flakes, some cores, a few scrapers and knives. There
appears to have been an absence of any large lithic
tradition, at least on those sites that were examined and
recorded. Ground stone implements include fragments of
metates, occasional manos and a fragment of a possible
pestle. In the temporary campsites recorded during the
survey the association of these ground stone implements
with sherdware would imply a relatively late date of at
least post-A.D. 900. None of the ground stone implements
were found with diagnostic lithic materials.
A tip of a single bone awl and shell disc beads were
observed on Site A, in Transect MB-631. The potential date
for the side notched projectile point, also found on this
site, does not necessarily apply to these artifacts.
The determination of chronological interpretation from
the field observation of prehistoric artifacts in the
project area, particularly in the East and West Cronese Lake,
the Mojave Sink and the Soda Lake areas, would be extremely
dubious at the present time. These areas have been
collected by professionals and nonprofessionals over the
last sixty years. In addition, there has been heavy use of
this region by ORV vehicles, recreational vehicles of all
types, campers, World War II maneuvers, railroad activities,
and historic mining. Based on these disturbances the present
surface association of artifacts on a site is of questionable
reliability. The lack of projectile points in easily
accessible site areas is also apparent. In a total of 89
recorded prehistoric sites, only two complete projectile
points and one point fragment were observed. From Rogers'
site descriptions and discussion it is apparent that, at
the time he was conducting his research, sites that he
recorded within the project area contained numerous
projectile points, more distinctive sherd ware and many
other artifact types.
Site Frequency Interpretations as Indicators of Site
Environmental variables were correlated with the
geomorphic designations during the initial sampling design,
and designated as strata. Frequencies of historic and
prehistoric sites subsequently have been independently
determined for significance of environmental site types in
geomorphic locales. The occurrence of sites by strata are
shown in Tables 15 through 17, and in Section 6, Table 13,
and the transect geomorphic designation is based on the
dominant land form in that transect. The type of sites
by locale as shown in Tables 18 and 19 refers to the specific
environment, or geomorphic locale in which the site itself
was found. Not only are site types separated by whether
they are historic or prehistoric, their specific identifica-
tion is delineated, thus providing an indication of site
patternings for the 1% sample of the study area. The
frequency expresses the percentage of cultural manifestations
in a given environmental situation, usually related to
available resources. Environment is a larger determining
factor prehistorically for resources than historically for
resources, as is apparent in Table 19 by the percentage
Historic settlements appear to be linked to economic
variables. Town or camp, mines, railroad (considering
each railroad berm encountered as separate) and the water
tank account for 88% of the historic sites observed.
Twelve percent of the historic sites encountered were
related to the environment. These were the two ranching
areas located in the pediment locale.
Initial resource data indicates two significant
categories of environmental attributes. In the dune and
Mojave Sink environs frequencies of prehistoric sites were
significantly higher than historic sites. Twenty-nine
percent of all prehistoric sites occur in dune locales,
while only 5% of all historic sites were observed in the
same environment. Twenty-nine percent of all historic
sites occur in the Mojave Sink, while 14% of all historic
sites are in this locale. Table 19 summarizes these
frequencies by stage of prehistoric and historic sites within
the different geomorphic locales and/or environmental
variables. These frequencies have reference to those
variables in the vicinity of the site situation and do not
reflect the geomorphic stratum of the transect in which the
site was located.
OHP1 O O O
It is believed that the high frequency of historic
sites located on the pediment and mountain locales is due
to the amount of mining activity within these geomorphic
attributes. These percentages do not express any environ-
mental correlation with edible resources, except by
coincidence. The frequency of prehistoric site occurrences
on pediments relates to the availability of float quarrying
materials, as well as utilizable edible plants.
The unnamed dry lake, just north of the Silver Lake
outlet, and Silurian Lake as part of a Pleistocene lake
and drainage system, have the potential of containing the
sub-surface remains of early archaeological materials. In
the Pleistocene all of these lakes were part of a drainage
system, flowing north from Lake Mojave through the Amargosa
River and draining into Lake Manly (Morrison 1965) . One
reason there may be sub-surface materials around these
present playas is that, at the end of the Pleistocene when
Lake Mojave was reduced to a series of smaller lakes, and
Silver Lake no longer discharged water northward into the
unnamed dry lake and Silurian Lake, these lakes became
playas fed only by rain waters from the slopes and arroyos
adjacent to them. Subsequently, as these playas filled
with alluvial sediments, earlier archaeological remains
may have been buried beneath this debris.
Distribution correlations with environmental attributes
should only be addressed to prehistoric sites. The environ-
ment was an integral aspect of prehistoric peoples, both for
subsistence and for the development and maintenance of their
cultures. Historic correlations to the environment are (at
best) anthropomorphic constructs and do not exhibit the same
land use relationships employed by prehistoric peoples.
This is particularly true for this project area, since by
the time the region was settled historically outside
resources for subsistence were available through wagon roads
and later railroads.
A total of 151 prehistoric and historic sites (not
including isolated finds) were recorded during the survey
with 14 8 transects, 58% of which were selected randomly and
42% non-randomly. Based on the results of the two randomly
selected stages it is felt that a two stage survey, with
approximately 4 0% of the transects randomly selected and
about 60% of the transects non-randomly selected, might
prove more effective than a three stage design. The
randomly selected transects provide an overview of site
distribution and predictability within designated geomorphic
units and give clues to areas where quarrying material may
occur, to an understanding of the terrain, and a concept
of aboriginal use of the available biotic resources. The
non-random transects would be oriented towards situations
which the random transects have indicated are potentially
productive of site frequencies.
Assigning a transect to a geomorphic stratum, when 50%
or more of the transect falls within that geomorphic
designation, does not express the reality of the variable
environments that might occur within that transect. Since
the transect concordance by geomorphic stratum, for the most
part, was 40% or less, site prediction, density and site
patternings were difficult to determine on this basis.
Geomorphic locale, or the precise geomorphic designation of
the site situation, has provided a higher confidence level
of predictability and site patternings. Miller (Section 6)
has used the term "geomorphic unit" in Stage 3, which refers
to the geomorphic locale of the site. The higher yields
resultant from these geomorphic units are apparent in her
final graphs and also in Tables 18 and 19 (pp. 152, 160).
Historically and prehistorically, the pediment valley
areas appear to have been heavily utilized. When mountain/
hill sites are combined with pediment sites, thirty-five
prehistoric sites that are lithic scatters of various types
were recorded in these two locales. This prehistoric
distribution of lithic sites in these geomorphic locales is
based on the available quarryable materials as float, and
exposed veins of chert or other utilizable lithic sources
as the lava flow area. Historically, mining activities are
highest in these same areas.
Prehistoric campsites occur in highest frequencies
within the dune or Mojave Sink geomorphic locales and these
are assumed to relate to seed-gathering activities within
an environment which has a number of available plant
resources, the most significant being mesquite. Dune locales
also contain numerous small fauna. Essentially, the
clustering effect of sites is apparent in the East and West
Cronese Lakes and the Mojave Sink area, as well as adjacent
pediment locales where these potential environmental resource;
Unfortunately, these dune and Mojave Sink areas recently
are heavily utilized by recreationally oriented people, and
most of these sites are readily accessible and have been
disturbed or destroyed. Much of the predictability of
aboriginal use patterns here has been lost through the
disturbance of the sites, their surface configurations and
the associated artifacts. This is particularly true in the
East Cronese Lake and Mojave Sink areas, where there is an
abundance of vehicular traffic during any weekend or holiday
The most sensitive areas within the project region
where site clusterings are recorded are the Mohave Sink,
extending approximately from the east end of Afton Canyon to
the western edge of the Devil's Playground (designated the
Mojave River Wash on the U.S.G.S. maps) and the East and West
Cronese Lakes. The Silver Lake area, although significant
archaeologically, does not have the heavy recreational
activities at present that are occurring in the dune areas
of the Mojave Sink and the Cronese Lakes. Prior to any
management decision of locales where recreational activities
could be allowed, some type of studies should be made to
determine the human impact on both the natural and the
archaeological environmental resources.
The function of this preliminary study, from the
archaeological research point of view, has been to enlarge
the knowledge about prehistoric and historic locations in
the southern half of the Owlshead/Amargosa Planning Unit
and the Mojave Basin Planning Unit. This report is part of
the overall endeavor being conducted by the Desert Planning
Unit of the Bureau of Land Management in their efforts to
synthesize the results of a series of research studies for
that portion of the Mojave Desert located in southeastern
California. This has taken a tremendous amount of
coordination and cooperation between the staff of the Desert
Planning Unit, under the direction of Eric Ritter, and the
various archaeological research teams working in the field.
The data that have been collected as a result of these
efforts will prove to be of value to a broad spectrum of
disciplines within the scientific community.
y ..0 o° oc
Illustration of a "Ceremonial (alignment) on a high gravel
mesa north of M-0 site on East Cronese." Site reported as
M-O-A by Malcolm Rogers. Illustration copied from Rogers'
notes, on file at the San Diego Museum of Man, by Russell
1952 Climatic History on the Antiquity of Man in California.
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Campbell, E. W. C. et al.
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Papers 11. Los Angeles, California.
Clewlow, C. W.
1968 Surface archaeology of the Black Rock Desert, Nevada. University
of California Archaeological Survey Reports , 73:1-94.
Donnan, C. B.
1964 A suggested culture sequence for the Providence Mountains.
University of California Archaeological Survey , Annual Report 1963-
Hester, T. R.
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California Archaeological Research Facility , Number 17, Department of
Anthropology, Berkeley, California.
Hester, R. R. and R. F. Heizer
1973 Review and discussion of Great Basin projectile points: form and
chronology. University of California Archaeological Research Facility ,
Number 18. Department of Anthropology, Berkeley, California.
King, Jr., T. J.
1976 Archaeological implications of the palaeobotanical record from
Lucerne Valley area of the Mojave Desert. San Bernardino County
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Mojave Desert region. U.S. Dept. of Interior , Bureau of Land
Management , California Desert Planning Program, Riverside, Calif.
Lanning, E. P.
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Rogers, K. J.
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and adjacent desert areas. San Diego Museum, Papers 3.
Wallace, W. J.
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deserts. American Antiquity , 28(2) :172-180.
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Antiquity 32(2) :168-185.
Warren, Claude and Robert Crabtree
In press The Prehistory of the Southwestern Great Basin . W. C.
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Smithsonian Instirution, Washington, D.C.
Warren, Claude and D. L. True
1961 The San Dieguito Complex and its place in California prehistory.
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Woodward, J. A. and A. F. Woodard
1966 The Carbon-14 dates from Lake Mojave. Southwestern Museum ,
MasterKey 40 (3):96-102. Los Angeles, California.
Bean, Lowell John and Katherine Saubel
1972 Temalpakh : Cahuilla Knowledge and Useage of Plants . Malki
Birdsell, J. B.
1953 Some Environmental and Cultural Factors Influencing the Structure
of Australian Aboriginal Populations. American Naturalist 87(834):
Castetter, Edward E. and Willis H. Bell
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the Numic peoples of Western North America, 1868-1880. Smithsonian
Institution. Contributions to Anthropology , 14.
Lee, Richard B. and Irven DeVore
1976 Kalahari Hunter-Gatherers . Harvard University Press.
Manners, Robert A.
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1968 A California Flora . University of California Press. Berkeley.
Bean, Lowell J. and Charles R. Smith
1978 Serrano. _In Robert F. Heizer (Volume editor), California .
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Beals, Ralph L. and Joseph A. Hester, Jr.
1974 Indian Land Use and Occupancy in California. In_ California and
Basin-Plateau Indians . California Indians I, 111:191-241. Garland
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Cook, Sherburne F.
1976 The Conflict between the California Indian &^ White Civilization .
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of California Publications in Anthropological Records 1:1-52.
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Ellis, Florence H.
1968 What Utaztekan ethnology suggests of Utaztekan prehistory. In
Earl H. Swanson, Jr. (ed.). Occasional Papers of the Idaho State
University Museum , Pocatello.
Gifford, Edward W.
1918 Clans & moities in southern California. University of
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1968 Culture-historical inference from Utaztekan linguistic evidence.
In Earl H. Swanson, Jr. (ed.) Utaztekan Prehistory. Occasional
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1976 Nuwuvi: A Southern Paiute History
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Kelly, Isabel T.
1934 Southern Paiute Bands.
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Kroeber, Alfred L.
1907a Indians myths of south central California. University of
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1907b Shoshonean dialects of California. University of California
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1907c Types of Indian Culture in California. University of California
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1908 A mission record of the California Indians, from a manuscript in
the Bancroft Library. University of California Publications in
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1908 Notes on Shoshonean dialects of southern California. University
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in American Archaeology and Ethnology 12:9:339-396, Berkeley.
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Manners, Robert A.
1974 Southern Paiute & Chemehuevi : An Ethnohistorical Report In
Paiute Indians I_. American Indian Ethnohistory : California and
Basin-Plateau Indians . Garland Publishing Co., New York.
Phillips, George H.
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southern California . University of California Press. Berkeley.
Shinn, G. Hazen
1941 Shoshonean Days : recollections of a_ residence of five years
among the Indians of southern California 1885-1889 . Privately
printed for the author by the Arthur H. Clark Company. Glendale,
Steward, Julian H.
1938 Basin-Plateau Aboriginal Sociopolitical Groups. Smithsonian
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9 U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1981 78<t-98'4/2 72 7
Depicted within the central portion of this photograph is an alignment of
sixteen rock cairns. The site is located in the Mojave Basin Planning Unit
on the south bank of the Mojave River just west of Afton Canyon. Photo courtesy
d^ T Tarry Casey.